A lyrical story for nature-loving readers, told with reverence for the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest.


Imagine taking an early morning walk to a sea garden—the intertidal habitats cultivated by First Nations peoples to increase biodiversity and provide sustainable seafood harvesting.

“If you want to visit a sea garden… / …you’ll have to get up really early.” Using gentle, second-person narration, Weisman describes what readers would find if they were lucky enough to visit one of these reefs, which have existed for thousands of years along the Pacific Northwest coast. The sights and sounds of the shore are rendered in poetic detail throughout the text, from the “symphony of clams…exhaling” to the barnacle-encrusted rocks. Most compelling are the descriptions of the human community that has gathered around them: “generations of First Peoples who…have come here to build and care for the sea garden, harvest and clean clams, and share knowledge and stories.” The sea gardens’ significance to First Nations peoples is at the heart of this story, shining a light on Native brilliance and their continued existence. Deft use of shapes, silhouettes, and color in the bold, graphic images emphasizes what a “special place” these reefs truly are. Families who value #ownvoices stories will be glad to learn that the manuscript was vetted by Kwaxsistalla Wathl’thla Clan Chief Adam Dick and illustrated by renowned Indigenous artist Vickers, whose heritage includes T’simshian, Haida, Heiltsuk, and English ancestors. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 27.5% of actual size.)

A lyrical story for nature-loving readers, told with reverence for the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest. (author's note, acknowledgements, photographs) (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-55498-970-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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A quick flight but a blast from first to last.


From the Everything Awesome About… series

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 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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