A well-told personal story with a positive environmental message.

HAWK MOTHER

THE STORY OF A RED-TAILED HAWK WHO HATCHED CHICKENS

In this moving true story, zoologist Hagedorn relates the story of her unusual encounter with a wild red-tailed hawk.

Shot down but not killed, the injured raptor is brought to the wildlife center where the white author works. Thus begins a long relationship between an exceptionally patient and caring scientist and a wounded animal. Through dramatic full-page color photographs and straightforward narration, Hagedorn describes how she enabled the hawk, named Sunshine for her happy disposition, to live a life in captivity as naturally as possible. In a large, purpose-built aviary, bird and scientist together construct a nest in which the bird lays two eggs. Although the unfertilized eggs will never hatch, the mother bird faithfully incubates them. This process continues for several years, when Hagedorn tries the experiment of substituting two fertilized chicken’s eggs for Sunshine’s own eggs. With great excitement, hawk and woman watch the chickens hatch. The bird’s maternal instinct wins over her predatory nature, and she feeds and raises the two roosters as if they were her own offspring. Hagedorn concludes by reminding readers that “we can all overcome challenges and adjust to new situations with the help of others!”

A well-told personal story with a positive environmental message. (author’s note, glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9883303-7-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Web of Life

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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