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Eye-widening indeed—in design as well as topic.

Keen looks into, and through, a wide range of animal eyes.

Duprat opens his large-format gallery of vividly rendered animal faces, life size or (much) larger, with a fold-out leaf on which a surrealistic outdoor scene that is clear in the middle distance but a bit blurry in back- and foreground reproduces a typical human field of vision. On subsequent pages viewers can lift flaps to see how a chimp and a dog, an eagle, a frog, an earthworm, a bee, and 14 other creatures would see that scene’s colors, objects, and edges. He shows what a cat would see by day and at night, varies the generally binocular view in a startling way by pointing a chameleon’s eyes in two different directions, and suggests what the 360-degree perspective of a woodcock might look like. Along the way, in lucid specifics he explains how rods and cones gather information and brains process it, points out anatomical differences in each animal’s ocular structure, and describes how each animal’s distinctive combination of perceptual capabilities help it find or avoid becoming food. But even readers disinclined to care much about “ommatidia” or the difference between “dichromat” and “trichromat” retinas will be riveted by the experience of lifting flaps and literally (with the given proviso that we must imagine what birds and other animals who see into the ultraviolet perceive) seeing through new eyes.

Eye-widening indeed—in design as well as topic. (index, source list) (Informational novelty. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-999802-85-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

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 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts.

From a Caldecott and Sibert honoree, an invitation to take a mind-expanding journey from the surface of our planet to the furthest reaches of the observable cosmos.

Though Chin’s assumption that we are even capable of understanding the scope of the universe is quixotic at best, he does effectively lead viewers on a journey that captures a sense of its scale. Following the model of Kees Boeke’s classic Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps (1957), he starts with four 8-year-old sky watchers of average height (and different racial presentations). They peer into a telescope and then are comically startled by the sudden arrival of an ostrich that is twice as tall…and then a giraffe that is over twice as tall as that…and going onward and upward, with ellipses at each page turn connecting the stages, past our atmosphere and solar system to the cosmic web of galactic superclusters. As he goes, precisely drawn earthly figures and features in the expansive illustrations give way to ever smaller celestial bodies and finally to glimmering swirls of distant lights against gulfs of deep black before ultimately returning to his starting place. A closing recap adds smaller images and additional details. Accompanying the spare narrative, valuable side notes supply specific lengths or distances and define their units of measure, accurately explain astronomical phenomena, and close with the provocative observation that “the observable universe is centered on us, but we are not in the center of the entire universe.”

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts. (afterword, websites, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4623-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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