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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Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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