Missing a few how-to tidbits but gorgeous and visually inspirational.


Inspiration and education for making collages at home.

Collage artist Baker combines suggestions about process and materials with representations of her own finished pieces to tempt readers into the creative world of collage. Photographs showing a technique of brushing glue onto a surface and then pressing sand onto it are just as beguiling as sumptuous spreads of “kitchen materials” (eggshell, spices, seeds, herbs), “nature materials” (lichen, leaves, grasses, barks), and “beach materials” (driftwood, bleached bones, tumbled glass, gravel, shells). Baker’s own finished collages, reproduced in Plaza’s photographs, are colorful and brimming with textures. Most are abstract, though one of sky and clouds features a gorgeous use of corrugated cardboard to represent a window. The inspiration here lies in the photographs’ glossy beauty, the vast options laid out for materials, and the ideas for conceptual process. There’s no exact instruction about how to glue such unwieldy stuff as fungi, sea sponge, or “marine gastropod eggs,” and although the text guides budding artists to avoid “anything still living,” information for discerning what’s alive must be sought elsewhere. The target audience’s age is fluid: Suggestions to use scalpels, superglue, and a light box—plus a suggestion to build a plywood frame—imply older readers than do notes to secure adult supervision when using plain scissors. Some recommended techniques take two to three weeks.

Missing a few how-to tidbits but gorgeous and visually inspirational. (introduction) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0539-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.


In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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



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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