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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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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