HIDDEN WILDLIFE

HOW ANIMALS HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT

Read aloud or alone, this will heighten anyone’s appreciation for “Nature…the ultimate artist.” (author’s note, further...

Animals’ shapes, coloring, and behaviors allow them to conceal and reveal themselves.

Arnosky uses his considerable artistic talents to demonstrate how animal camouflage works using examples from across the animal kingdom and throughout the year. Acrylic paintings (including foldout spreads) and occasional pencil studies show animals in their natural habitats, where colors, patterns, and the play of light work to allow them to seem to vanish. He suggests looking at these paintings from across the room to see how a Florida panther can vanish in the grass or a moose into a forest. He uses familiar examples such as a spotted fawn on a forest floor or a female blackbird in the reeds as well as surprising ones: a bittern stretched tall like the grasses around it; a scorpion fish blending in color and texture with its perch on a mound of coral. He discusses the role of the countershading—dark above and light below—so often found in birds and marine animals. Pencil drawings show how some insect shapes mimic parts of plants and how a fawn’s spots will disappear over time. Loosely organized into chapters with short introductions, his examples are captioned with short explanatory paragraphs. Most come from his own observations and experiences over many years of exploring and researching the natural world.

Read aloud or alone, this will heighten anyone’s appreciation for “Nature…the ultimate artist.” (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2097-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

VOLCANOES

Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude.

A deceptively simple, visually appealing, comprehensive explanation of volcanoes.

Gibbons packs an impressive number of facts into this browsable nonfiction picture book. The text begins with the awe of a volcanic eruption: “The ground begins to rumble…ash, hot lava and rock, and gases shoot up into the air.” Diagrams of the Earth’s structural layers—inner and outer core, mantle, and crust—undergird a discussion about why volcanoes occur. Simple maps of the Earth’s seven major tectonic plates show where volcanoes are likeliest to develop. Other spreads with bright, clearly labeled illustrations cover intriguing subtopics: four types of volcanoes and how they erupt; underwater volcanoes; well-known volcanoes and historic volcanic eruptions around the world; how to be safe in the vicinity of a volcano; and the work of scientists studying volcanoes and helping to predict eruptions. A page of eight facts about volcanoes wraps things up. The straightforward, concise prose will be easy for young readers to follow. As always, Gibbons manages to present a great deal of information in a compact form.

Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4569-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

BUTT OR FACE?

A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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