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

READ REVIEW

EYE SPY

WILD WAYS ANIMALS SEE THE WORLD

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. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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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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Convincing evidence that the boundaries between us and them aren’t all that sharp.

HUMANIMAL

INCREDIBLE WAYS ANIMALS ARE JUST LIKE US!

Eye-opening discoveries for readers who think only humans grieve, play, or admire themselves in mirrors.

Claiming the titular word (wrongly) as his own coinage, Lloyd develops the theme that many animals display behavior or characteristics once thought exclusively human, from living in cities (termites) to feeling emotions like love and grief (elephants, bonobos). The author extends commonly seen examples: Yes, as Jane Goodall has proven, chimps do use tools, but so do Australian black kites, which have been seen carrying burning sticks from fires to nearby grasslands to stir up prey. He also points to observations of bees communally deciding on where to establish a new hive; ravens repeatedly rolling down hills for, evidently, fun; and even slime molds showing a knack for constructing networks between food sources that rival for efficiency anything that civil engineers can concoct. In many reports he names animal researchers (though all but two of the 15 in his closing biographical gallery are white and European or American) and describes specific incidents or experiments. Ruffle adds big, boldly hued views of stylized but expressively posed, easily recognizable creatures against monochromatic or simplified natural backgrounds. The rare human figures are nearly all actual portraits.

Convincing evidence that the boundaries between us and them aren’t all that sharp. (index, selected scientific publications) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-912920-01-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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