An elegant reminder of solitary pleasure in nature.

READ REVIEW

A YEAR IN THE WOODS

Selections from Thoreau’s Walden are illustrated with full-page and double-page watercolors.

With dramatic use of negative space, a white moon in a dark blue sky glows above blue-tinged deciduous and pine trees, all reflected in a calm, un-rippled Walden Pond. The page opposite—decorated with two delicately rendered leaves (oak and maple)—begins: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…” and concludes with a few more sentences describing why Thoreau wanted to live “sturdily and Spartan-like” for a year. The page turns to a double-page spread of Walden Pond during the day—equally serene—with a young, lanky Thoreau—walking stick in hand—gazing across its expanse. Throughout the book, short, positive musings are complemented by equally idyllic artwork, whether Henry is building his cabin, spending time in the pine woods—his “ ‘best’ room”—or reading by his fireplace while snow gathers outside. Only the least controversial of Walden’s many ideas have been chosen, resulting in a serene tone. The chosen text is poetic—if quaint—and both text and art compel readers to slow down in contemplation. Although the publisher recommends “interest level” for ages 9 and up, younger readers will enjoy the language’s rhythm and the soothing art; conversely, older readers will, hopefully, be inspired to read the original.

An elegant reminder of solitary pleasure in nature. (Picture book/memoir. 8-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-56846-305-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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