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THE LION QUEENS OF INDIA

Young readers will be inspired by these women who show an unwavering commitment to preserving the wildlife, no matter what...

The photography-driven book tells the story of an all-women animal rescue team working in India’s Gir National Park, the world’s last known habitat for Asiatic lions.

The book is narrated by Rashila, who declares, “I love lions,” and who became the first woman forest guard at Gir in her early 20s, earning the moniker “Lion Queen.” Subsequently, several other women have been hired as guards, hence the title’s plural. From fighting poachers to confronting lions, and despite the dangers these women face on a daily basis, they show an unwavering commitment to preserving the wildlife, no matter what it takes. Reynolds’ photography (supplemented by others’ contributions) is based on fieldwork in Gir in January 2018 as well as interviews and ongoing conversations with sanctuary leadership and workers. The result is a refreshing take on the exotic-animal photo essay, one that centers people of the community rather than white, foreign scientists. Indeed, the only white person in the book can be found in a small photo of the author riding pillion on a motorbike with Rashila. In her author’s note, Reynolds describes initially meeting Rashila and then shadowing her through the park. The note also reiterates the text’s strong environmental messaging. In addition to profiling these remarkable women, the text is full of lion facts and vocabulary, which make it a solid nonfiction book about animals.

Young readers will be inspired by these women who show an unwavering commitment to preserving the wildlife, no matter what it takes. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64379-051-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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HUMMINGBIRD

A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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BUTT OR FACE?

A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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