KATYA'S BOOK OF MUSHROOMS

Field guide, fact book, and diary of a mushroom-hunter gather under one umbrella. A first-person narrative, peppered with anecdotes of mushroom-collecting trips in the wild, brings to light the strange and surprising fungi that grow in backyards, snowbanks, and water, even in cars and carpets. A mushroom fanatic since her childhood in Moscow, Arnold (Baba Yaga, 1993) includes the standards—basic types, folk names, and scientific labels, identification tips and charts, pests, and habitats, including the mushroom's unusual partnership with trees. While Arnold enthusiastically promotes mushroom hunting, she and Swope caution readers repeatedly about the dangers of poisonous varieties. The history and origin of mushrooms, as well as religious and therapeutic aspects, are touched on in miscellaneous captions. Kids will relish the blunt descriptions—the red juice tooth is likened to ``a piece of cheese with drops of blood''; the Latin name for puffball means ``wolf fart.'' Other mushroom oddities are also sure to engross. Alternating illustrative styles shift between humorous depictions of a puffball-stomping child or a truffle-hunting wild-eyed pig and the more delicate, sedate renderings of velvety mushroom varieties. From the animal-shaped fungi to the spore-printed endpapers, Arnold's lifelong passion for her subject will make mushroom fanciers out of even the mycologically reluctant. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8050-4136-2

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1997

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

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 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are...

DRAGONS AND MARSHMALLOWS

From the Zoey and Sassafras series , Vol. 1

Zoey discovers that she can see magical creatures that might need her help.

That’s a good thing because her mother has been caring for the various beasts since childhood, but now she’s leaving on a business trip so the work will fall to Zoey. Most people (like Zoey’s father) can’t see the magical creatures, so Zoey, who appears in illustrations to be black, will have to experiment with their care by problem-solving using the scientific method to determine appropriate treatment and feeding. When a tiny, sick dragon shows up on her doorstep, she runs an experiment and determines that marshmallows appear to be the proper food. Unfortunately, she hadn’t done enough research beforehand to understand that although dragons might like marshmallows, they might not be the best food for a sick, fire-breathing baby. Although the incorporation of important STEM behaviors is a plus, the exposition is mildly clunky, with little character development and stilted dialogue. Many pages are dense with large-print text, related in Zoey’s not especially childlike voice. However, the inclusion in each chapter of a couple of attractive black-and-white illustrations of round-faced people and Zoey’s mischievous cat helps break up the narrative.

In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are nice to see. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943147-08-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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