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

THE LION QUEENS OF INDIA

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 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

CECE LOVES SCIENCE

From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A whimsical introduction to an unusual mammal.

I AM NOT A PENGUIN

A PANGOLIN'S LAMENT

Most children will not be familiar with pangolins, scaly mammals native to Asia and Africa.

But neither are the animal characters who mix up the pangolin with many other animals. A talkative pangolin introduces his species with a poster. The animals, illustrated in a stylized but realistic manner, seem thoroughly confused by this new creature. In the dryly witty text, the pangolin describes his various attributes but is constantly interrupted by other animals mistaking him for a creature that’s similar in some way. When the pangolin describes curling up into a ball to protect himself, the skunk says: “Oh, I get it! He’s an armadillo.” When penguins are remarked on, the pangolin grows extremely testy. “I AM CERTAINLY NOT A PENGUIN! I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT PENGUINS! THERE ARE NO PENGUINS HERE! ZERO PENGUINS! NOT. ONE. PENGUIN!” And who should stroll in but a surfer penguin, wearing cool sunglasses and leading the pangolin’s audience to the beach. The crestfallen pangolin starts to cancel the presentation, but then a small Asian-presenting child shows up to listen, explaining, “I’m just a kid”—to which the pangolin responds with puzzlement: “Huh. Like a goat?” The pangolin shows sheet after informational sheet to an enthralled audience of one, quiet humor giving way to a small torrent of facts written on mock presentation paper. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

A whimsical introduction to an unusual mammal. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12740-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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