Not quite as riotously entertaining as the previous outing, but it does the job.

Introductions to 13 creatures you (mostly) wouldn’t want on your leg.

In a not-exactly-unexpected follow-up to 2019’s Eek! You Reek! Poems About Animals That Stink, Stank, Stunk, the veteran mother-daughter team works up a series of short animal poems (16, counting one on the rear cover), supplemented by quick nature notes in the backmatter, on an equally crowd-pleasing theme. As the roster includes butterflies, honeybees, elephants, and glancing mention but no picture of unweaned human infants, not all the creatures here will dial the gross-o-meter up to 11—but there are still sufficient suckers and lappers of blood, ranging from fleas and mosquitoes to vampire bats, lampreys, and leeches, to gleefully put anyone off their lunch. The creepiest critter here may well be the erebid moth: “Oh, / tear drinker, / bird’s eye / your / cup. / With your long / proboscis, / you slurp / tears / up!” And if those eyes are dry, the supplementary comment notes, “the moth will scratch its host’s eyes until there is a weepy feast.” Eww. Nobati leaves out the gore but otherwise does her part to crank up the jollity by, for instance, giving many of the comically caricatured creatures on view googly popped eyes, depicting a lamprey bringing its own ketchup to a group suck, and showing a light-skinned human leg in thigh-deep water positively swathed in leeches. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not quite as riotously entertaining as the previous outing, but it does the job. (glossary, reading list) (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72841-566-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022


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

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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