With enticing chapter headings, attractive pictures, and unusual animals, this volume will keep readers browsing.

“Top Predators” and “Who Glows There?” are just two of the 14 categories used to introduce familiar and many lesser-known animals found throughout the world.

With two double-page spreads for each category, the images of fauna, many in vivid, jewellike colors, are pictured in the sea, the woods, the rainforest, and other biomes, usually with native flora. The first, introductory spreads typically feature only one or two animals or types of animals and are most effective visually while the secondary pages in each section look cluttered, with six to eight animals in colored rectangles. These rectangles include a few sentences in a narrow black type, and occasionally a dark background obscures the text. The information sometimes veers into misleading generalities, as in the description of the leopard’s range: “Leopards can be found almost anywhere in the world.” Still, the book is full of fascinating tidbits about animals that most children do not know. Some explanatory paragraphs emphasize size; others concentrate on eating, breeding habits, or other behaviors. All mention habitat. There are no maps. There is a useful chart that classifies the animals by type: mammals, vertebrates, birds, invertebrates, amphibians, and fish. Despite the busy layout and small type, kids who have any interest in animals will dip into this book again and again. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.8-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 29% of actual size.)

With enticing chapter headings, attractive pictures, and unusual animals, this volume will keep readers browsing. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64686-066-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021


From the Everything Awesome About… series

A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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