This is another splendid invitation to children to explore the natural world.

READ REVIEW

CREEP AND FLUTTER

THE SECRET WORLD OF INSECTS AND SPIDERS

Larger-than–life-size paintings, intricate drawings and a chatty, informative text combine to introduce the world of insects and spiders, “the largest biomass on Earth.”

Displaying his own boundless sense of wonder, Arnosky draws on personal experiences to attract his audience, describing a mayfly hatch in a trout-filled pond, a lady beetle that crashed near his woodstove, a yellow-striped grasshopper seen in the Everglades and more. The naturalist covers an astonishing variety—mayflies and dragonflies, beetles and bugs, caterpillars, moths and butterflies, grasshoppers and their relatives, bees, wasps, ants, flies and spiders. The information he provides is necessarily limited, but he’s chosen facts likely to appeal. Short chapters are organized into familiar groups and separated by six fold-out pages (two are gate-folds) full of examples. Gorgeous, carefully crafted paintings show tiny details and often include a creature’s habitat. The magnification is usually given, and silhouettes show actual size. Labeled pencil drawings add further detail and make comparisons. Although the author differentiates between a cocoon and a chrysalis, he does not clarify that calling the latter a cocoon as well is erroneous. He includes solid suggestions for further reading. A table of contents makes the organization clear, but an index would have been helpful.

This is another splendid invitation to children to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4027-7766-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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