An effective demonstration of the reverberations of climate change.

PIKA COUNTRY

CLIMATE CHANGE AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD

Pikas, tiny rabbit relatives living in high altitudes, serve as an entry point toward understanding the consequences of a warming world.

Following At Home With the Beaver, with photos by Michael Runtz (2019), Patent, with co-author Garnsworthy, returns to the idea of the interconnectedness of species with this welcome new title. Hartman’s photographs dramatically illustrate a clear, well-organized text that opens with descriptions of the mountainous “pika country” near Yellowstone National Park and the feisty pikas. Readers first see a pika “scurry, scurry, hurry,” gathering food for the day and for its winter hay pile. There’s a helpful map and photos of the scenery in several seasons. The writers introduce the idea of climate change (printed in boldface and defined, like other important words, in a glossary) and other animals sharing this gradually warming habitat. Not only is the pika’s livable world shrinking as the snowline moves up the mountains, there’s less of an insulating snowpack in winter and fewer hours with appropriate temperatures for foraging in summer. Photos, diagrams (by Garnsworthy), and words work together to demonstrate the food web that includes this tiny mammal and other plants and animals, also threatened by the changing climate, whose lives connect with theirs. In conclusion, final essays explain today’s climate change causes and suggest some personal actions in the realms of transportation, living and eating habits, and sharing information, but no sources or further resources are offered.

An effective demonstration of the reverberations of climate change. (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-970039-02-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Web of Life

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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An amiable point-counterpoint for budding animal lovers/haters.

THE NOT BAD ANIMALS

Forty-two creatures of ill repute, from scorpions to hyenas, put on their best faces and protest that they’re just misunderstood.

In paired double-page spreads, Corrigan first presents for each animal the case for considering it scary or gross, then, with the page turn, allows it to contradict itself. “I’m creepy and I’m crawly,” a spider supposedly gloats. “I spin webs from my butt and leave them in places where I KNOW you’ll get stuck in them.” In the following spread, the spider points out that “Only half of my kind spin webs, and we really, REALLY don’t want you to get stuck in them!” Along with pointing to roles in the natural order and including many crowd-pleasing references to butts and poop, these counterarguments tend to run along the lines of the rat’s “I’m a fluffy little SWEETIE!” and the toad’s “I am a plump lump of CUTENESS!” Each testimonial is backed up by a box of background information baldly labeled “FACTS.” Readers may find the chorus of smiley faces and claims of adorability unconvincing, but they will at least come away with more nuanced impressions of each creepy-crawly. The humorous cartoon illustrations don’t measure up to the in-your-face photos of Seymour Simon’s classic Animals Nobody Loves (2001), but this gallery of beasties unfairly regarded as “icky and ewwy and downright gross” is considerably broader.

An amiable point-counterpoint for budding animal lovers/haters. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4748-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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