HUMMINGBIRDS

FACTS AND FOLKLORE FROM THE AMERICAS

A very nicely conceived title that does not entirely cohere. The authors have compiled a lot of information about hummingbirds: their biological orders, families and species; their habits and patterns; their migrations and physical characteristics. They keep at the forefront what makes these tiny, strong, territorial flyers so fascinating and why they are so astonishingly beautiful (it’s not the colors in the feathers, it’s the way the feathers refract light, like a prism.) Each short chapter discusses a physiological or behavioral characteristic and presents a hummingbird legend or story, woven from various versions of tales from Navajo, Aztec, Taino and other indigenous peoples of the Americas. Yorinks has created all the illustrations with fabric collage—cotton, silk, paints, glitter—from small spots to double-page spreads in which the text floats on the images. The text does not always read smoothly, there is some repetition and the rather odd inclusion of a small quilt with the actor Alan Arkin’s image (he’s a hummingbird fan) that adds to the hodgepodge feel. (foreword, glossary, bibliography, hummingbird sanctuaries, art notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

 

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58089-332-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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A hopeful and helpful addition to any nature library.

FOLLOW THOSE ZEBRAS

SOLVING A MIGRATION MYSTERY

From the Sandra Markle's Science Discoveries series

Scientists solve the mystery of a disappearing zebra herd.

A herd of plains zebra regularly vanishes from the Chobe River flood plains in Namibia and Botswana during the dry season, but until Robin Naidoo and other scientists fitted some of these animals with GPS trackers, no one knew where they went or why. Markle (The Great Shark Rescue, 2019, etc.) ably describes the species, its habitat in the Serengeti Plain, the phenomenon of migration, the science research, and its surprising results: a “record-holding zebra migration” to the grasses in Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park, which have extra nutrients for the mares and the foals they bear there. Her clear explanations are accompanied by well-chosen and informatively captioned photographs from a variety of sources. The lively design includes a striking zebra-coat background surrounding boxes with additional information and images. Maps help American readers locate this migration in southern Africa. One that includes the tracked migration routes of eight females demonstrates the astonishing directness of the 155-mile journey undertaken by seven (the meandering route taken by the eighth is unexplained). The author concludes with concerns about the possible effects of the changing climate and how conservation groups are planning to help the zebras so that they can continue to travel unimpeded and find water on their way.

A hopeful and helpful addition to any nature library. (author’s note, fast facts, glossary, source notes, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-3837-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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