An intriguing approach for animal-fact enthusiasts.

PINK IS FOR BLOBFISH

DISCOVERING THE WORLD'S PERFECTLY PINK ANIMALS

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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Another uproarious romp that explores what it is to be good as well as do good.

THE BAD GUYS IN MISSION UNPLUCKABLE

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 2

The foursome of reformed villains returns with a new mission and new team member in a continued effort to repair their reputations in Blabey's (The Bad Guys, 2017) rollicking sequel.

This second installment opens with our would-be heroes, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, and Mr. Piranha, fresh from their bold liberation of the local pound, finding that the media is not spinning in their favor. Accused of terrorizing rather than rescuing, the group (at least Mr. Wolf) refuses to admit defeat—"We're the GOOD GUYS here!"—and begins planning a new mission to free innocent chickens from their deplorable confinement in the Sunnyside Chicken Farm. But if the team can't work together—something all the more difficult with the team a little panicked by the addition of Legs (a friendly, tech-genius tarantula) and one of the group suspiciously excited to greet the chickens—a rescue mission may be all but impossible. Despite some language devaluing of mental diversity (“freak out,” “loco,” etc.) that may turn some readers off, Blabey once again deploys moral ambiguity to overall success, challenging fear as a justification for prejudice and mistakes as reasons to give up. The narrative has lost no comic momentum from first to second book, juxtaposing classic riffs on Mission Impossible and new visual gags unique to these delightfully wry characters.

Another uproarious romp that explores what it is to be good as well as do good. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91241-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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