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FOOTPRINTS ACROSS THE PLANET

An excellent choice for nature-loving elementary readers.

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Footprints show the impact of human actions on Earth in this eco-friendly nonfiction picture book.

Swanson’s simple text, accompanied by clear, detailed photography, highlights the many different sizes and shapes of footprints. A photo of an elephant’s large prints shows a child leaping from one to the next alongside a photograph of the animals walking. Small footprints of insects and other animals are shown before the work showcases a diverse array of human footwear. Footprints “capture adventures at the greatest heights,” the book notes, showing paths on mountains and on the moon. The text moves on to metaphorical footprints, suggesting that young activists follow in the steps of historical changemakers, then briefly addresses digital and carbon footprints, further explained in notes at the back. Swanson’s accessible text is tailored to emergent readers, with few pages featuring more than one sentence; most passages stretch over multiple pages. The metaphorical footprints are likely to require adult discussion about what it means to leave behind traces of one’s actions. The selection of uncredited photos is excellent, with images from history and nature that are well suited to each idea; Rosa Parks and Greta Thunberg are among the changemakers featured. The text doesn’t name many of them, though, which will leave readers who don’t recognize them at a loss.

An excellent choice for nature-loving elementary readers.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4788-7603-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Reycraft Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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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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EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SPACE AND OTHER GALACTIC FACTS!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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