JUST YOU AND ME

REMARKABLE RELATIONSHIPS IN THE WILD

A fascinating view of interdependency.

Nature’s symbiotic relationships are outlined in a poetic text featuring some unlikely animal and plant partnerships.

As an introduction, an adult and child (the former White, the latter with olive skin and black hair) plant a garden together. “Just you and me. / Just me and you. / We’re perfect pairs! / Here’s what we do….” An explanation of the term symbiosis is then provided, which leads into the various natural collaborations presented. Interestingly, the majority of the natural partnerships are those casual readers might consider improbable on the face of it. A Nile crocodile hosts an Egyptian plover (also known as the crocodile bird) in its mouth to help clean its teeth of food scraps, which become the bird’s meal. Zebras and ostriches herd together and rely on one another’s senses to warn of danger. More-well-known and perhaps obvious duos are included, such as the bee helping the flower spread its pollen or a sloth relying on the green algae that grows on its back to camouflage itself against predators within the greenery of the trees. Each team is allotted a double-page spread and introduced with a rhyming verse: “I wear your green among the trees. / You hide me well so no one sees / a hanging sloth that moves quite slow, / as predators lurk far below.” This is followed by a detailed explanation in a smaller font: “Algae make their home on sloth fur, turning it green in the process.” The crisp, unambiguous artwork reinforces the learning and understanding of these incredible partnerships that thrive in the natural world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A fascinating view of interdependency. (sources) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6098-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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

HUMMINGBIRD

A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

Close Quickview