UNITED TWEETS OF AMERICA

This rollicking roll call of state fast facts takes the form of a pageant of birds, each introducing their home state in ways that will delight trivia fans. Page by page, state by state, Talbott provides the capitol, the nickname and a varied assortment of other tidbits: notable residents and products, flowers, trees, songs and more. Illustrations add information. Knowledgeable readers will recognize a variety of iconic scenes and such details as a Denver Broncos helmet on Colorado’s page. Clever byplay between birds on adjoining pages adds interest. Sometimes the humor gets in the way of the facts: One chickadee in Massachusetts is misshapen and sports a tongue, and in Maine most have their tell-tale black caps covered with yellow rain gear. Some jokes may go over the heads of intended readers, who may also have trouble distinguishing fact from fancy here. But where U.S. geography is part of the elementary-school curriculum, this lighthearted look at the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) will be welcome. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-399-24520-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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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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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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