One of the most satisfying folklore collections in recent memory. (Folk tales. 7-11)

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WHISKERS, TAILS & WINGS

ANIMAL FOLKTALES FROM MEXICO

Five animated, traditional tales are enhanced by ethnographic information about the indigenous peoples who still tell these stories.

The author has selected tales not from the well-known Aztec or Mayan tradition, but from the Tarahumara, Seri, Huichol, Triqui and Tseltal peoples. Each short tale is followed by a description of the group’s traditional customs and their contemporary lives, including their use of cars and computers (and, in the Huichol chapter, ceremonial peyote by chosen adults). The stories attest to the ingenuity of the cricket, Señor Grillo, over the force of Señor Puma’s army and to the steadfastness of Mosni, the sea turtle, whose journey to bring sand from the ocean floor enabled Hant Caai, the Seri god of creation, to create land that humans would inhabit. The Huichol story explains why the opossum has a bare but prehensile tail. The humorous Triqui tale describes insects invented by their god of creation to make Man and Woman do some real work, and the last story recounts the scary encounter between a large buzzard and a small frog. The book is handsomely designed, with full-bleed acrylic-and-watercolor paintings on heavily textured papers starting off each story. Realistic vignettes emphasizing folk art and intricate clothing illustrate the informational sections. Comprehensive glossaries (with pronunciation guides) accompany each story, and a scholarly bibliography and index round out the volume.

One of the most satisfying folklore collections in recent memory. (Folk tales. 7-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58089-372-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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Convincing evidence that the boundaries between us and them aren’t all that sharp.

HUMANIMAL

INCREDIBLE WAYS ANIMALS ARE JUST LIKE US!

Eye-opening discoveries for readers who think only humans grieve, play, or admire themselves in mirrors.

Claiming the titular word (wrongly) as his own coinage, Lloyd develops the theme that many animals display behavior or characteristics once thought exclusively human, from living in cities (termites) to feeling emotions like love and grief (elephants, bonobos). The author extends commonly seen examples: Yes, as Jane Goodall has proven, chimps do use tools, but so do Australian black kites, which have been seen carrying burning sticks from fires to nearby grasslands to stir up prey. He also points to observations of bees communally deciding on where to establish a new hive; ravens repeatedly rolling down hills for, evidently, fun; and even slime molds showing a knack for constructing networks between food sources that rival for efficiency anything that civil engineers can concoct. In many reports he names animal researchers (though all but two of the 15 in his closing biographical gallery are white and European or American) and describes specific incidents or experiments. Ruffle adds big, boldly hued views of stylized but expressively posed, easily recognizable creatures against monochromatic or simplified natural backgrounds. The rare human figures are nearly all actual portraits.

Convincing evidence that the boundaries between us and them aren’t all that sharp. (index, selected scientific publications) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-912920-01-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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