A rather flat compilation of tree and forest legends and myths accompanied by stolid illustrations.

READ REVIEW

UNDER THE CANOPY

TREES AROUND THE WORLD

Myths and legends surrounding trees and forests make up this picture book.

Seventeen tree species from around the world and four forests (Madagascar’s Alley, or Avenue, of the Baobabs, Sherwood Forest, the Amazon rainforest, and the Black Forest) are introduced to readers via the myths and legends associated with them. Each double-page spread features a substantial illustration accompanied by text that includes a brief notation about the height of the tree in metric units (or trees in the case of the forest entries) and notes whether it is deciduous or evergreen as well as other qualities before relaying the myth or legend associated with it. Several of the entries read like (and are remarkably similar to) the Wikipedia entries on the same subjects. Illustrator Alonso’s color illustrations, in a bright but hardly nature-hued palette, have a stylized, silk-screened look. With their flat shapes and saturated color, they come across as quite heavy and impassive. While several illustrations depict people of many ethnicities and cultures, some don’t illustrate the tree the text is addressing, which may be frustrating to readers who may not know what, say, a hawthorn tree looks like. The book’s final illustration, a double-page spread, does show and label each tree in a forestlike arrangement, which is handy for height and spatial comparison.

A rather flat compilation of tree and forest legends and myths accompanied by stolid illustrations. (Picture book/folklore. 5-10)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-42-3

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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