For children and their bird-watching parents, who will appreciate the clever premise and the message of admiration.

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AVIARY WONDERS INC.

SPRING CATALOG AND INSTRUCTION MANUAL

A catalog of bird parts and instructions for making your own in a sadly possible future in which living birds have nearly disappeared.

Feathers, beaks, legs and feet, bodies, tails and even flight styles can be ordered from this enterprising company, whose motto is “Renewing the World’s Bird Supply Since 2031.” Written and illustrated (in oil, ink, graphite and colored pencil) in the style of traditional mail-order inventories, this weaves in a surprising amount of genuine bird information while displaying the variety of interchangeable parts. Body and wing shapes fit different purposes. Legs and feet are adjusted for habitat, and beaks must match potential food. There are decorative streamers, collars and crests. The illustrations reflect actual birds; in spite of decorative coloration, beaks and wings are recognizable as identified. If a model is based on a bird now critically endangered or extinct (such as the slender-billed curlew, great auk and passenger pigeon), the label points it out. The author also enumerates actual bird threats: insecticides, habitat loss, the exotic pet trade and cats. Finally, careful instructions for assembly and training are included. Don’t teach your bird a song you don’t want to hear over and over!

For children and their bird-watching parents, who will appreciate the clever premise and the message of admiration. (Picture book. 10 & up)

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-547-97899-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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Dolphin lovers will appreciate this look at our complicated relationship with these marine mammals.

HOW TO SPEAK DOLPHIN

Is dolphin-assisted therapy so beneficial to patients that it’s worth keeping a wild dolphin captive?

Twelve-year-old Lily has lived with her emotionally distant oncologist stepfather and a succession of nannies since her mother died in a car accident two years ago. Nannies leave because of the difficulty of caring for Adam, Lily’s severely autistic 4-year-old half brother. The newest, Suzanne, seems promising, but Lily is tired of feeling like a planet orbiting the sun Adam. When she meets blind Zoe, who will attend the same private middle school as Lily in the fall, Lily’s happy to have a friend. However, Zoe’s take on the plight of the captive dolphin, Nori, used in Adam’s therapy opens Lily’s eyes. She knows she must use her influence over her stepfather, who is consulting on Nori’s treatment for cancer (caused by an oil spill), to free the animal. Lily’s got several fine lines to walk, as she works to hold onto her new friend, convince her stepfather of the rightness of releasing Nori, and do what’s best for Adam. In her newest exploration of animal-human relationships, Rorby’s lonely, mature heroine faces tough but realistic situations. Siblings of children on the spectrum will identify with Lily. If the tale flirts with sentimentality and some of the characters are strident in their views, the whole never feels maudlin or didactic.

Dolphin lovers will appreciate this look at our complicated relationship with these marine mammals. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-67605-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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With plenty of thrills, friendship, some humor, intrigue and an easy good-guys/bad-guys escape plot, young readers will find...

WAKE UP MISSING

Six middle schoolers + mad scientists + Everglades = adventure.

Cat, along with five other children who have suffered head injuries, goes to what is billed as the pre-eminent neurological center in the world, the International Center for Advanced Neurology, located in the Everglades. At first, she receives excellent care, but she soon overhears an ominous conversation that leads to her discovery of the awful truth: The terrible Dr. Ames and his colleague intend to implant the children with the DNA of long-dead scientists, including Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Marie Curie and even Leonardo da Vinci. Worse, they learn that Trent, who has already received a transplant, has virtually become Thomas Edison. Trent not only has Edison’s DNA, he has Edison’s century-old memories and speech patterns. Cat and her friends seize an opportunity to escape, relying on Trent’s technical expertise and “inherited” memory to evade the bad guys. As she outlines in her author’s note, Messner follows good science in her descriptions of head-injury treatment; she also gives teachers opportunities to explore the differences between hereditary and acquired characteristics in her more fictional genetic “science.” Her characterizations are solid and age-appropriate; Trent, as young Thomas Edison still avidly working on alternating currents, supplies some laughs.

With plenty of thrills, friendship, some humor, intrigue and an easy good-guys/bad-guys escape plot, young readers will find lots of fun here. (Science fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2314-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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