An immersive, exquisitely illustrated trip to the fungal kingdom.

FUNGARIUM

From the Welcome to the Museum series

Led by Gaya, a team of mycologists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, offers an irresistible, oversized introduction to fungi.

Dedicated to the “next generation of mycologists,” this well-designed handbook approximates a tour of a museum, or “fungarium,” complete with foil ticket for entry and four galleries—“Fungal Biology,” “Fungal Diversity,” “Fungal Interactions,” and “Fungi and Humans.” Stop-you-in-your-tracks biological illustrations colorfully depict spores, yeasts, molds, and mushrooms. Specific delights include a chanterelle, with its sunny yellow curves and false gills; a tendrilled jellyspot fungus; and a stark white, poisonous destroying angel. Even the monochromatic endpapers are frameworthy. Gaya and her co-authors allay mycophobia in young naturalists (“fungi…represent some of the world’s finest delicacies”) but, smartly, not entirely (“remember that some of them may kill you”). The book revels in and conveys the magic of fungi, which are not only necessary to make beer, bread, most cheeses, chocolate, and wine (more than enough reason to inspire fungiphilia), but are also key to the survival of 90% of plants as well as our own survival via penicillin and other medicines. Kid-pleasing macabre facts abound: The zombie ant fungus “grows in the body of the ant,” forcing the insect to disseminate its spores. The backmatter “library” (list of curators, index, additional resources) is helpful. Sadly, there is no glossary: While the prose is clear enough for older readers, this book relies heavily on Latin and scientific terms that aren’t always defined.

An immersive, exquisitely illustrated trip to the fungal kingdom. (Nonfiction. 8-adult)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1709-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet.

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WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS

In this tribute to Native resilience, Indigenous author-and-illustrator team Lindstrom and Goade invite readers to stand up for environmental justice.

“Water is the first medicine,” a young, unnamed protagonist reflects as she wades into a river with her grandmother. “We come from water.” Stunning illustrations, rich in symbolism from the creators’ respective Ojibwe and Tlingit/Haida lineages, bring the dark-haired, brown-skinned child’s narrative to life as she recounts an Anishinaabe prophecy: One day, a “black snake” will terrorize her community and threaten water, animals, and land. “Now the black snake is here,” the narrator proclaims, connecting the legend to the present-day threat of oil pipelines being built on Native lands. Though its image is fearsome, younger audiences aren’t likely to be frightened due to Goade’s vibrant, uplifting focus on collective power. Awash in brilliant colors and atmospheric studies of light, the girl emphasizes the importance of protecting “those who cannot fight for themselves” and understanding that on Earth, “we are all related.” Themes of ancestry, community responsibility, and shared inheritance run throughout. Where the brave protagonist is depicted alongside her community, the illustrations feature people of all ages, skin tones, and clothing styles. Lindstrom’s powerful message includes non-Native and Native readers alike: “We are stewards of the Earth. We are water protectors.”

An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet. (author’s note, glossary, illustrator’s note, Water Protector pledge) (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20355-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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