Enticing fare for fans of all things Paleo.

READ REVIEW

MEGABUGS

AND OTHER PREHISTORIC CRITTERS THAT ROAMED THE PLANET

Up-close introductions to seven Paleozoic monsters, with some outsized modern survivors added for good measure.

Writing with crowd-pleasing vivacity—Arthropleura “was bigger than a basketball player. And with up to 80 quick-moving, grasping legs, it could have easily gripped and smothered one too!”—Becker profiles a set of humongous arthropods that, in Bindon’s exactly detailed scenes, crawl, slither, glide, swim, or fly past with all-too-convincing realism. All come with (fossil) range maps and human silhouettes for size comparisons, and most are placed in natural settings, with other fauna of the period visible in the backgrounds. In her descriptive notes, the author maintains a proper caution, following current thinking in suggesting that heightened levels of atmospheric oxygen made such uncommon mass possible but noting that “fave snacks,” life cycles, and causes of extinction are speculations. Following the prehistoric parade, a select set of today’s biggest creepy-crawlies bring up the rear, capped by a menacing science-fictional megabug that looks like an ant-scorpion hybrid. Though no replacement for Timothy Bradley’s (sadly out of print) Paleo Bugs (2008) for those lucky enough still to have it, the art here has more of a dramatic flair, and the resource lists at the end are fresher.

Enticing fare for fans of all things Paleo. (glossary, timeline, index) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77138-811-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Sketchy text notwithstanding, an eye-filling gallery of creature features.

LIFE-SIZE ANIMALS

AN ILLUSTRATED SAFARI

Nature large in tooth and claw.

Ample enough in trim size (double-page spreads are 15 inches high by 22.4 inches wide) to offer a frontal view of a tiger’s face on the cover and full-body portraits within of evocatively named creatures including both the goliath frog and the goliath birdeater tarantula, this album of digital paintings rivals Steve Jenkins’ classic Actual Size (2004) for both realism and visual drama. Along with portraying the jagged dentifrice of a white shark and the eyes of an elephant, a blue whale, and a giant squid from just inches away, Grott intersperses collective gatherings of naturally posed animal relatives in full or partial views, plus select galleries of outsized tongues, claws, tails, and other parts. Schiavo occasionally waxes grandiose in her one- to three-sentence captions, dubbing bats “Lords of the Night,” for instance and, even less plausibly, hummingbirds “Warriors of the Sun.” She also leaves armchair naturalists unenlightened about how a ball python could keep its eggs warm, how a goliath frog’s lack of vocal sacs would amplify its croaking, or the significance of a musk deer’s pointy “primordial” canines. Still, she does offer common names and measurements (albeit and regrettably in English units only) for each subject.

Sketchy text notwithstanding, an eye-filling gallery of creature features. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4460-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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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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