An intriguing approach for animal-fact enthusiasts.



From the World of Weird Animals series

Seventeen of the world's oddest creatures share a single characteristic: their pink coloration.

For the opening title in her new series, Keating features weird and wonderful animals ranging from a deep-sea fish made of “gelatinous goo” to a tiny barrel-sponge occupant called a hairy squat lobster. In between, there are relatively familiar species such as hippopotamuses, roseate spoonbills, and Amazon river dolphins and more exotic ones such as the orchid mantis, pink fairy armadillo, and southern blind snake. Each double-page spread introduces a single animal with a photograph on the left and information on the facing page. A paragraph of description is followed by another about some intriguing aspect—perhaps the animal’s aposematic coloration that warns predators off or its hermaphroditic habits. This second paragraph is illustrated with a cartoon and set off with a blobby design feature that repeats in the colorful page backgrounds. Sidebars offer fast facts including name, Latin name, size, diet, habitat, and predators and threats. These texts will challenge the intended audience. They’re full of interesting but likely unfamiliar terms: carrion, deforestation, eusocial, negative phototaxis. These are printed in boldface in the text and defined in context and in a glossary. There are helpful suggestions for further research. Habitat ranges on an unlabeled world map are keyed to an alphabetical list of the animals, but there’s no index.

An intriguing approach for animal-fact enthusiasts. (Informational picture book. 7-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-51227-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.


From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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