An appetizing addition to the nature shelf.

READ REVIEW

I SEE SEA FOOD

SEA CREATURES THAT LOOK LIKE FOOD

An introduction to nine sea creatures named for their resemblance to human food.

After the opening invitation, each spread in this collection describes a fish, sea star, slug, or jelly with a common name that refers to its food look-alike. Large stock photos show the creature, usually in a recognizable reef or ocean habitat. A headline sentence describes its location and locomotion. A short paragraph explains its appearance and how its foodlike features contribute to its survival. A pineapple fish’s spiky scutes, a chocolate chip sea star’s horns, and a sea apple’s shape when inflated are actually protection. The green in a lettuce sea slug comes from the chloroplasts it eats, which convert sunlight to sugar to provide energy. The curly arms on a cauliflower jelly collect its food; the yellow or orange bell of the egg yolk jelly reflects the food it has eaten. The color of a banana wrasse indicates its gender. The shape of the pancake batfish and the color and texture of the pizza crust sea slug provide camouflage. Finally, there are fast facts including alternative common names, Latin names, size, range, habitat, predators, and one more tasty factoid. Grodzicki offers a surprising amount of nutrition with this menu, using appropriate vocabulary explained in context and defined in a glossary. Arguing that “weird and wonderful sea creatures deserve some love too!” she invites readers to continue their exploration.

An appetizing addition to the nature shelf. (further reading, quiz, photo acknowledgments) (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-5463-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF PLANET EARTH

Flaps, pull tabs, and pop-ups large and small enhance views of our planet’s inside, outside, atmosphere, biosphere, and geophysics.

It’s a hefty, high-speed tour through Earth’s features, climates, and natural resources, with compressed surveys of special topics on multileveled flaps and a spread on the history of life that is extended by a double-foldout wing. But even when teeming with small images of land forms, wildlife, or diverse groups of children and adults, Balicevic’s bright cartoon illustrations look relatively uncrowded. Although the quality of the paper engineering is uneven, the special effects add dramatic set pieces: Readers need to hold in place a humongous column of cumulonimbus clouds for it to reach its full extension; a volcano erupts in a gratifyingly large scale; and, on the plate-tectonics spread, a pull tab gives readers the opportunity to run the Indian Plate into the Eurasian one and see the Himalayas bulge up. A final spread showing resources, mostly renewable ones, being tapped ends with an appeal to protect “our only home.” All in all, it’s a likely alternative to Dougal Jerram’s Utterly Amazing Earth, illustrated by Dan Crisp and Molly Lattin (2017), being broader in scope and a bit more generous in its level of detail.

It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 979-1-02760-562-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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