Cogent statistics and topic somewhat diluted by a simplistic presentation.



An exploration of our “water footprint” in infographics, with suggestions for reducing it.

Rows of water bottles or jugs give visual expression to the amount of fresh water consumed in various everyday activities or required to produce a series of common foods and other items. The numbers, all given in metric and English units, are startling: a disposable diaper requires 545 liters (or 144 gallons), for instance; a pair of jeans takes 7,600 liters (2,000 gallons); producing a smartphone consumes 910 liters (240 gallons); a single spaghetti noodle requires 1.85 liters (roughly a half gallon). Sources for these figures aren’t specified but presumably come from the technical reports that make up the bibliography. In any case, they speak for themselves—which is good, as the introductory narrative and accompanying commentary run to broad generalities (“In school, we learn that people in places like Africa do not have enough water”). The “Water-Saving Tips” at the end not only address adults and children indiscriminately, but even if rigorously adopted will result in, at best, minor local reductions in water use. A cast of white or light-skinned children add shiny faces to the bright, clean layouts.

Cogent statistics and topic somewhat diluted by a simplistic presentation. (index, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77085-819-0

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)



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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