An eyeful for active or armchair vacationers, though more a general overview than a guidebook.

A panoramic sampler of our park system’s flora, fauna, and other natural wonders.

Siber and Turnham map all 60 parks but highlight 21 of the more popular ones. For each of the latter, a general introduction is paired with a big landscape (or underwater) view on one spread, and the next follows up with a small location map plus images of 10 or so distinctive plants, animals, and geological features with brief descriptive comments. The entries are arranged in geographical groups going, roughly, east to west but in no logical itinerary. Created digitally in a serigraphic style, the art has a retro, travel-poster look that complements the breezy narrative’s message that these are places worth visiting: “Just about everything in the 49th state is bigger and gnarlier than in the Lower 48.” Family groups hiking, swimming, or marveling at vistas in most of the larger pictures are (for a change) more often dark-skinned than light. Though the art’s palette runs to muted greens, blues, and oranges, figures stand out sharply—in contrast to the smaller blocks of text, which are printed in a skinny-skinny type that can be hard to see when placed over dark or multihued backgrounds. Still, readers fond of outdoorsy activities will respond to this inviting array of sites, scenery, and wildlife in natural settings.

An eyeful for active or armchair vacationers, though more a general overview than a guidebook. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-84780-976-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021


From the Everything Awesome About… series

A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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