Overall, a fine primer for children and families ready to explore Cascadia’s extraordinary habitats.

CURIOUS KIDS NATURE GUIDE

EXPLORE THE AMAZING OUTDOORS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Organized by habitat, this guide catalogs over 90 animals, plants, fungi, and other natural denizens of the Pacific Northwest.

After a brief introduction and tips for safely exploring in nature, Cohen introduces four organizing habitats: “Forest,” “Beach,” “Freshwater,” and “Backyards and Urban Parks.” Each section presents brief, pithy information with well-chosen facts. Most subjects garner at least one paragraph, some as many as four or five, with fascinating details sure to capture kids’ attention. To mate, two hermaphroditic banana slugs “climb a tree together and then dangle off a branch, hanging from a rope of slime.” (Humans encountering slug slime are reminded that rinsing with water will make the goo swell. “The way to get it off is to rub, and keep rubbing.”) Fylling, a scientific illustrator, provides precisely rendered thumbnail pictures. These are first presented collectively, with their common and scientific names, at the start of each habitat section, then reproduced singly for Cohen’s descriptions. Curiously, the geoduck (one of the Pacific Northwest’s most bizarre-looking creatures and the largest burrowing clam in the world) gets no illustration. Salmon merit a multipage treatment and a depiction of the chum salmon’s life cycle. The venerable orca J2, who reached the probable age of 105 in 2016, gets a present-tense mention, though she’s generally believed to have died sometime after an October sighting that year.

Overall, a fine primer for children and families ready to explore Cascadia’s extraordinary habitats. (index, seasonal timeline) (Nonfiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63217-083-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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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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