An eye-filling showcase with much to offer both general browsers and budding biologists.

READ REVIEW

LAND MAMMALS OF THE WORLD

NOTES, DRAWINGS, AND OBSERVATIONS ABOUT ANIMALS THAT LIVE ON LAND

From the Animal Journal series

A select portrait gallery of terrestrial mammals, enhanced with close-up details and zoological notes.

Alonso (Early Cretaceous, 2015) switches from dinosaurs to extant wildlife (domesticated animals, including Homo sapiens, don’t make the cut here), presenting in no particular sequence representative members of 15 mammalian orders in dignified but lifelike poses against neutral-toned backgrounds. The accomplished artist portrays each subject not to scale but with careful exactitude—every hair, claw, spike, and wrinkle seemingly individually drawn—and surrounds each with descriptive notes printed, mostly, in a faux-cursive typeface. Along with pointing out salient physical features, the notes include species names, ranges and sizes, diets, and International Union for Conservation of Nature statuses from “Least Concern” to “Critically Endangered.” He also adds occasional inset looks at individual paws or feet, expands his section on the Chiroptera (bats) with two subgalleries of close-ups to highlight their startling diversity of facial features, and injects momentary drama by catching a hyena, a Kodiak bear, and, in a head-only shot, a puma in midroar.

An eye-filling showcase with much to offer both general browsers and budding biologists. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63322-196-3

Page Count: 131

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike.

ULTIMATE OCEANPEDIA

THE MOST COMPLETE OCEAN REFERENCE EVER

A compendium of all things oceanic, from surface to depths, covering biology, geology, coasts, climatic phenomena, and human use and abuse.

Considering the size of the general topic, the coverage isn’t as shallow as it might be. Hundreds of crisply professional nature photos and big, easy-to-follow charts and diagrams anchor waves of densely packed but often breezy commentary (“Many parrotfish species also make their own sleeping bags at night—out of mucus!”) that Wilsdon pours in beneath such headers as “It’s a Shore Thing” and “Belize It or Not!” Overviews of each ocean, of plate tectonics, the action and effects of ocean currents, worldwide climate change, and physical features from islands to abyssal plains sail by in succession, but marine biology takes pride of place with page after page of photogenic sea life from tiny krill on up to whales and polar bears. The author profiles a marine ecologist and interviews an oceanographer to cap chapters on modern research, exploration, and industries, then closes with generous lists of sites to visit physically or virtually.

A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2550-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead.

THE PERFECT HORSE

THE DARING RESCUE OF HORSES KIDNAPPED DURING WORLD WAR II

Letts adapts her bestselling 2016 work of the same title for young readers.

As World War II sweeps across Europe, the fates of several master horsemen become entwined. In Poland, Andrzej Kristalovich, head of the national stud farm, sees his life’s work disappear when Russian soldiers capture his horses. Nazi Germans, invading next, restore some of the animals in order to breed them for the Third Reich. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Olympic medalist Alois Podhajsky is desperately trying to care for the Lipizzan stallions at the famed Spanish Riding School even as the invading Germans capture the Lipizzan stud farms and move most of the horses to Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, at an American Army base in Kansas, Maj. Hank Reed is overseeing the cavalry’s transition from horses, no longer useful in warfare, to mechanized vehicles. These threads come together at the end of the war when Reed orchestrates a complex rescue of both sets of horses. This is not a particularly successful adaptation. It’s shorter than the original, but both the storyline and timeline are fragmented, making it difficult for the putative audience of 8- to 12-year-olds to follow, and extraneous details fail to advance the main narrative. Aside from a map and archival images (both not seen), there is no timeline or other visual aid to help organize the narrative. Characters are all white.

If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead. (author’s note, characters, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64474-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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