Overall the book’s vibe is energetic and peppy, just like its protagonist.

GIDGET THE SURFING DOG

CATCHING WAVES WITH A SMALL BUT MIGHTY PUG

An energetic pug named Gidget learns to surf and goes on to become a champion at canine surfing competitions in this true-life story.

Gidget was an intelligent puppy with boundless energy, so her owner took her to agility classes and then on to training in surfboard riding. The dog’s training regime with her owner, Alecia, is described in detail as well as the specifics of one competition. Gidget’s story is illustrated with photographs of the pug in her bright pink life jacket atop her pink surfboard along with other canine competitors and their owners. Interspersed throughout the story are sidebars and a few full pages with additional information about surfing, wind and waves, competition rules, and Gidget’s list of surfing competition wins. The sidebars are illustrated by Ryan with cartoon-style details, with a cartoon pug character adding levity. Gidget’s owner and most other dog trainers present white; one trainer presents Asian. Two surfer boys with physical disabilities are included in one internal photograph, repeated on the back cover. The book’s design is a bit fragmented, toggling back and forth between story and informational interludes, and Gidget’s appearance in her photographs can be confusing as she doesn’t always look like the same dog due to different lighting conditions and wet fur.

Overall the book’s vibe is energetic and peppy, just like its protagonist. (resources, author’s note) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63217-271-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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