A pleasant but not necessary addition to the nature shelves.

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 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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Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention.

OUR PLANET! THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE EARTH

From the Our Universe series , Vol. 6

The sixth in McAnulty’s Our Universe series focuses on Earth’s human-caused problems, offering some family-level activities for mitigation.

Vivaciously narrated by “Planet Awesome,” the text establishes facts about how Earth’s location with regard to the sun allows life to flourish, the roles of the ocean and atmosphere, and the distinctions between weather and climate. McAnulty clearly explains how people have accelerated climate change “because so many human things need energy.” Soft-pedaling, she avoids overt indictment of fossil fuels: “Sometimes energy leads to dirty water, dirty land, and dirty air.” Dire changes are afoot: “Some land is flooding. Other land is too dry—and hot. YIKES! Not good.” “And when I’m in trouble, Earthlings are in trouble, too.” Litchfield’s engaging art adds important visual information where the perky text falls short. On one spread, a factory complex spews greenhouse gases in three plumes, each identified by the chemical symbols for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Throughout, planet Earth is appealingly represented with animated facial features and arms—one green, one blue. The palette brightens and darkens in sync with the text’s respective messages of hope and alarm. Final pages introduce alternative energy sources—wind, hydro, solar, and “human power—that’s from your own two feet.” Lastly, Earth provides excellent ideas for hyperlocal change, from buying less new stuff to planting trees. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention. (author’s note, numerical facts, atmospheric facts, ideas for action, sources) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-78249-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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