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From the Animal Journal series

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

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 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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In the same format as his Newbery Honor title The Great Fire (1995), Murphy brings the blizzard of 1888 to life. He shows how military weather-monitoring practices, housing and employment conditions, and politics regarding waste management, transportation monopolies, and utilities regulation, all contributed to—and were subsequently affected by—the disaster. He does so through an appealing narrative, making use of first-hand accounts whose sources he describes in his notes at the end (though, disappointingly he cites nothing directly in the text). The wealth of quotable material made available through the letters of members of “the Society of Blizzard Men and Blizzard Ladies” and other sources help to make the story vivid. Many drawings and photographs (some of the blizzard, but most of related scenes) illustrate the text. These large reproductions are all in a sepia-tone that matches the color of the typeface—an effect that feels over-the-top, but doesn’t detract significantly from the power of the story. Murphy’s ability to pull in details that lend context allows him to tell this story of a place in time through the lens of a single, dramatic episode that will engage readers. This is skillfully done: humorous, jaw-dropping, thought-provoking, and chilling. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-590-67309-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

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“In 1875 there were perhaps fifty million of them. Just twenty-five years later nearly every one of them was gone.” The author of many nonfiction books for young people (Bridges; Truck; Giants of the Highways, etc.) tells the story of the American bison, from prehistory, when Bison latifrons walked North America along with the dinosaurs, to the recent past when the Sioux and other plains Indians hunted the familiar bison. Robbins uses historic photographs, etchings, and paintings to show their sad history. To the Native Americans of the plains, the buffalo was central to their way of life. Arriving Europeans, however, hunted for sport, slaughtering thousands for their hides, or to clear the land for the railroad, or farmers. One telling photo shows a man atop a mountain of buffalo skulls. At the very last moment, enough individuals “came to their senses,” and worked to protect the remaining few. Thanks to their efforts, this animal is no longer endangered, but the author sounds a somber note as he concludes: “the millions are gone, and they will never come back.” A familiar story, well-told, and enhanced by the many well-chosen period photographs. (photo credits) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83025-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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