Fun, rhythmic, informative, and worthy of many happy read-aloud moments.

READ REVIEW

FUNGUS IS AMONG US!

Mushrooms, lichens, yeasty bread, too. Are your salad and breadsticks—alive?

Beneath its sensationalistic title, this is a truly delightful rhyming book about the wonderful surprises that await us in nature. Author Keller brings alive the woods with a second-person text addressed at a bespectacled, elementary-age child whose walk along a woodland path is soon fraught with unexpected visitors. “You crouch to look. / You're shocked to see / its cap…its stalk…its gills! / A fungus grows / among us now— / so strange it gives you chills.” Soon the kid is noticing all types of fungus, from mushrooms to mold to spores. Illustrator Salcedo provides art that is the perfect blend of humor and information. She uses bold primary colors and adorable expressiveness to highlight not only the human character (a brown-skinned kid with exuberantly bushy hair), but the myriad plants, veggies, and other living things, both microscopic and visible to the naked eye, the kid encounters. In addition to the snappy verse, Keller offers discreet, prose interjections of science—perfect for young readers with a penchant to know a little bit more. The sweet little science asides offer clearly explained insight into microscopic life forms affecting our lives. The book closes with a three-page interview with a mycologist and a bibliography.

Fun, rhythmic, informative, and worthy of many happy read-aloud moments. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1943147-64-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF PLANET EARTH

Flaps, pull tabs, and pop-ups large and small enhance views of our planet’s inside, outside, atmosphere, biosphere, and geophysics.

It’s a hefty, high-speed tour through Earth’s features, climates, and natural resources, with compressed surveys of special topics on multileveled flaps and a spread on the history of life that is extended by a double-foldout wing. But even when teeming with small images of land forms, wildlife, or diverse groups of children and adults, Balicevic’s bright cartoon illustrations look relatively uncrowded. Although the quality of the paper engineering is uneven, the special effects add dramatic set pieces: Readers need to hold in place a humongous column of cumulonimbus clouds for it to reach its full extension; a volcano erupts in a gratifyingly large scale; and, on the plate-tectonics spread, a pull tab gives readers the opportunity to run the Indian Plate into the Eurasian one and see the Himalayas bulge up. A final spread showing resources, mostly renewable ones, being tapped ends with an appeal to protect “our only home.” All in all, it’s a likely alternative to Dougal Jerram’s Utterly Amazing Earth, illustrated by Dan Crisp and Molly Lattin (2017), being broader in scope and a bit more generous in its level of detail.

It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 979-1-02760-562-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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