An excellent story, well told. You’ll remember it always.

ELEPHANTS REMEMBER

A TRUE STORY

A look at the friendship between a conservationist and the elephant herd he rescues.

When the elephants need to be relocated as a result of their destructive wanderings, Lawrence Anthony knows that if he does not take the herd to Thula Thula, his animal reserve in Zululand, South Africa, the animals risk being killed by poachers. Two elephants—the matriarch and her calf—were killed during their capture, and Lawrence struggles to gain the animals’ trust and ensure their safety and well-being. Slowly, he succeeds, and his initially uneasy relationship with new matriarch Nana develops into a lasting bond; even after Lawrence tries to distance himself from the elephants, granting them their independence, the elephants never forget him, and on his death, they come to his house, seemingly to mourn him. This is a compelling true story that will leave readers on the edges of their seats. O’Connell’s text is supplemented with backmatter that includes information, in question-and-answer format, about elephants, Lawrence Anthony, and Thula Thula as well as an author’s note and a list of additional resources. Acrylic illustrations capture Nana’s anger and mistrust of humans and Lawrence’s patience with the herd. Librarians and educators should prepare for a rush of elephant-related questions once this book hits the shelves, and caregivers may find themselves equally fascinated by this heartbreaking story of trust, survival, and loss. Lawrence is White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An excellent story, well told. You’ll remember it always. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-88448-928-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

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 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era.

I AM RUBY BRIDGES

The New Orleans school child who famously broke the color line in 1960 while surrounded by federal marshals describes the early days of her experience from a 6-year-old’s perspective.

Bridges told her tale to younger children in 2009’s Ruby Bridges Goes to School, but here the sensibility is more personal, and the sometimes-shocking historical photos have been replaced by uplifting painted scenes. “I didn’t find out what being ‘the first’ really meant until the day I arrived at this new school,” she writes. Unfrightened by the crowd of “screaming white people” that greets her at the school’s door (she thinks it’s like Mardi Gras) but surprised to find herself the only child in her classroom, and even the entire building, she gradually realizes the significance of her act as (in Smith’s illustration) she compares a small personal photo to the all-White class photos posted on a bulletin board and sees the difference. As she reflects on her new understanding, symbolic scenes first depict other dark-skinned children marching into classes in her wake to friendly greetings from lighter-skinned classmates (“School is just school,” she sensibly concludes, “and kids are just kids”) and finally an image of the bright-eyed icon posed next to a soaring bridge of reconciliation. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era. (author and illustrator notes, glossary) (Autobiographical picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75388-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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