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Fun, inspiring, and well researched.

Nineteen chapters illustrated with colorful, mixed-media art use scientific classification to deliver facts about insects “creeping, crawling, fluttering, and scuttling in every corner of the world.”

The above verbs are in the introduction: a stark white, double-page spread that sports scores of highly varied insects illustrating those actions. The text boldly asserts that insects are both the most successful and the most important animals on Earth, with necessary contributions to nearly every ecosystem. The next chapter’s paragraphs clearly distinguish insects from other animals, including a sidebar explaining why such creatures as spiders and pill bugs are not insects. After another chapter discusses diversity within the insect class, each of the remaining chapters is devoted to facts about a few different insects found within one order. The short paragraphs have intriguing subheadings: “Bugs we eat”; “Life in a bee’s bottom”; “Living glue guns.” The writing style and curated content hold plenty of interest, making the abundant exclamation points unnecessary. Labeled art that is both stylized and anatomically correct—and that even has a somewhat humorous appeal—complements the conversational text. Excellent organization of material includes ample introduction to Linnaean classification in both text and glossary (under “order (scientific)”), allowing for easy browsing. The text includes reasons for endangerment when necessary and suggestions for helping. Kudos for explaining monarch and painted lady butterflies’ generational migrations as akin to a relay race.

Fun, inspiring, and well researched. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-913519-45-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Welbeck Children's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

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 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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What happens to the dogs when dogfighting rings are broken up and the trials are over? Typically, the dogs are put to sleep, thought to be too dangerous to re-enter society. Because of the wide publicity of the Michael Vick case, animal activists were able to work to rescue all but one of his dogs; this is the story of one that survived. The little black pit bull puppy, later named after World War II hero Audie Murphy, thrives in his foster home. Soon he goes to live with a family that wants to train him for agility competitions. Audie needs surgery on his bad knees though, so not only does he still need to learn how to be a safe and social dog, he also has to recover from an operation. Audie goes through Canine Good Citizen classes and does so well he eventually helps train other dogs. He also excels in his agility training once his knees have healed. Color photographs chronicling Audie’s journey are placed on vibrantly colored pages; Muñoz captures the dog’s personality in frame after frame. Patent's text is straightforward, expertly providing just the right level of background and choosing kid-friendly details to illustrate Audie's experiences. Ample backmatter provides further background and resources. Audie’s inspirational story is a case study in rehabilitation, one sure to appeal to animal loving children. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2272-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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