A pleasant but not necessary addition to the nature shelves.

READ REVIEW

DO LIZARDS EAT ICE CREAM?

HOW ANIMALS BEAT THE HEAT

Silly questions and sensible, sometimes surprising answers show how animals cope with hot temperatures.

In this companion to Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate? How Animals Keep Warm (2018), Kaner offers young readers further fascinating facts about animal adaptations. Not all her foolish-seeming questions are answered negatively. Sometimes, there is a “YES!” or a “YES! (sort of),” which is far more likely to engage surprised readers than a straight binary. Ochre sea stars “fill up with cold seawater so they won’t dry out in the sun” if stranded on shore at high tide. So yes, like us, they drink lots of water to stay cool. Musk oxen don’t get haircuts, but they shed a woolly layer every spring. From shovel-snouted lizards to herring gulls, the 13 species portrayed come from around the world. Many will be familiar, even to second graders, from zoos, picture books, and nature documentaries. With its stylized illustrations and clean, colorful design, this would show well in a read-aloud session. But alas, as in the previous title, the designer wasted the opportunity a picture-book page turn provides for engaging listeners in speculation, instead placing question and answer on the same spread. A final page, showing a brown-haired, brown-skinned child floating in a tube and eating a Popsicle, suggests what some lucky humans can do. With no backmatter nor sources this has limited potential beyond its not-inconsiderable entertainment value.

A pleasant but not necessary addition to the nature shelves. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77147-398-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

CECE LOVES SCIENCE

From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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