A low-key consciousness raiser, more about the fun (and value) of measuring than the importance of accurate results.

READ REVIEW

HOW BIG IS BIG? HOW FAR IS FAR? ALL AROUND ME

An invitation to compare heights, lengths, weights, temperatures, and other relative measures in this German import.

Focusing largely on observations of the natural world, a mix of questions and facts (“Try counting your teeth. How many are there?…Did you know that [adult] humans have the same number of teeth as a cow?”) spurs reflection as well as chuckles. The ruminative tone of the narrative is echoed in the China-born illustrator’s cleanly drawn, serigraphic-style illustrations, which feature serene-looking animals, twisting lines in a 5,000-year-old pine or the tentacles of a colossal squid, and light- or dark-skinned adults and children, all posed in conjunction on pale-hued, plain backgrounds. Though the language is sometimes confusingly imprecise (it is unclear what is being measured in a claim that an albatross’s wingspan is “2.5 times their average height” or a small dinosaur’s “length” compared to a supposedly larger mountain goat that is visibly shorter in the picture), the actual units of measure are plainly intended as averages rather than exact figures. Those units (mostly English) are accurate enough in general and sometimes amusingly unconventional to boot: A goliath beetle larva, for instance “weighs more than a bar of chocolate,” and a red deer’s time in the 100-meter dash easily outpaces Usain Bolt’s. A final observation that there are many “surprising things big and small” in the world makes a properly open-ended concluding promise.

A low-key consciousness raiser, more about the fun (and value) of measuring than the importance of accurate results. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-3-89955-812-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little Gestalten

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece,...

HUMAN BODY

From the Scratch and Learn series

A very simple guide to (some) human anatomy, with scratch-off patches.

On sturdy board pages two cartoon children—one brown, one a sunburned pink—pose for cutaway views of select anatomical features. In most images certain parts, such as lungs and bladder on the “Organs” spread and both gluteus maximi on “Muscles,” are hidden beneath a black layer that can be removed with the flat end (or more slowly with the pointed one) of a wooden stylus housed in an attached bubble pack. With notable lack of consistency, the names of select organs or areas, with such child-centric additions as “A cut,” or “Poop,” are gathered in bulleted lists and/or placed as labels for arbitrarily chosen items in the pictures. It’s hard to envision younger readers getting more than momentary satisfaction from this, as they industriously scrape away and are invited to learn terms such as “Alveoli” and “Latissimus dorsi” that are, at best, minimally defined or described. Older ones in search of at least marginally systematic versions of the skeletal, sensory, nervous, and other (but not reproductive) systems will be even less satisfied. Even those alive to the extracurricular possibilities of a volume that contains, as one of the two warnings on the rear cover notes, a “functional sharp point,” will be disappointed.

There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece, preschool setting. (Informational novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-323-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world.

EXTREME SURVIVORS

From the American Museum of Natural History Easy Readers series

“Extreme” gets a broad definition (ticks?), but the first-rate photographs and easy-to-read commentary in this survey of animals adapted to harsh habitats will win over budding naturalists.

Sixteen creatures ranging from hot-springs bacteria and the tiny but nearly invulnerable water bear to sperm whales parade past, sandwiched between an introductory spread and a full gallery of thumbnails that works as a content review. The animals are presented in an ordered way that expedites comparisons and contrasts of body features or environments. The sharply reproduced individual stock photos were all taken in the wild and include a mix of close-up portraits, slightly longer shots that show surroundings and more distant eyewitness views. The Roops present concrete facts in simple language—“Penguins have feathers and thick fat to keep them warm”—and vary the structures of their two- to four-sentence passages so that there is never a trace of monotony. Like its co-published and equally inviting title, Melissa Stewart’s World’s Fastest Animals, this otherwise polished series entry closes with a marginally relevant small-type profile of a herpetologist at the American Museum of Natural History.

Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world. (Informational early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0631-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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