DO FISH FART?

ANSWERS TO KIDS' QUESTIONS ABOUT LAKES

Informed and respectful, if sometimes speculative, responses, even to silly questions. As to the titular one, it’s “and...

At long last, a considered answer to the question on every third-grader’s lips—plus more lake-related facts and fancies.

Whittling 3,000 queries submitted by Canadian schoolchildren down to a few dozen, Thomas enlists a crew of experts to explain why water is wet, how fish can drown, the ecological impact of the “Rockin’ Duo” P (phosphates) and N (nitrates), fish sex and other life processes (“fish gotta pee”), whether lake monsters exist, and the effects of soap, candy, Red Bull, rubber tires, and other foreign substances on lake ecosystems. Ouseley shoehorns fanciful cartoon fish, birds, and animals onto pages crowded with splashy photos of divers, fish teeth, children (mostly light-skinned, where skin is visible), plus zebra mussels and other native or invasive flora and fauna. The author answers a final question—“What will the Great Lakes look like when we are grown up?”—with a cogent question of her own: “What choices will you make?” Leads to recommended websites or other resources for young eco-activists wouldn’t have gone amiss, but readers will likely be motivated to seek some out on their own.

Informed and respectful, if sometimes speculative, responses, even to silly questions. As to the titular one, it’s “and how!” (index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: July 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77085-728-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

RACE FOR THE RUBY TURTLE

A wild romp that champions making space for vulnerable creatures and each other.

A boy with ADHD explores nature and himself.

Eleven-year-old Jake Rizzi just wants to be seen as “normal”; he blames his brain for leading him into trouble and making him do things that annoy his peers and even his own parents. Case in point: He’s stuck spending a week in rural Oregon with an aunt he barely knows while his parents go on vacation. Jake’s reluctance changes as he learns about the town’s annual festival, during which locals search for a fabled turtle. But news of this possibly undiscovered species has spread. Although Aunt Hettle insists to Jake that it’s only folklore, the fame-hungry convene, sure that the Ruby-Backed Turtle is indeed real—just as Jake discovers is the case. Keeping its existence secret is critical to protecting the rare creature from a poacher and others with ill intentions. Readers will keep turning pages to find out how Jake and new friend Mia will foil the caricatured villains. Along the way, Bramucci packs in teachable moments around digital literacy, mindfulness, and ecological interdependence, along with the message that “the only way to protect the natural world is to love it.” Jake’s inner monologue elucidates the challenges and benefits of ADHD as well as practical coping strategies. Whether or not readers share Jake’s diagnosis, they’ll empathize with his insecurities. Jake and his family present white; Mia is Black, and names of secondary characters indicate some ethnic diversity.

A wild romp that champions making space for vulnerable creatures and each other. (Adventure. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2023

ISBN: 9781547607020

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

WEIRD LITTLE ROBOTS

A contemplation on the magic of friendship told with sweetness, simplicity, and science.

A science-loving 11-year-old moves to a new neighborhood and entertains herself by making robots out of found objects while wishing for real friends.

Penny Rose Mooney, daughter of an entomologist and a banker, eventually finds a soul mate in neighbor Lark Hinkle, a bird-watcher and birdhouse maker. Penny struggles with social interactions in ways that are suggestive of high-functioning autism-spectrum challenges and keeps several notebooks, including her most secret one—Conversation Starters. The girls team up to make roboTown, a metropolis of lights and discarded items cleverly reused. Their newfound friendship is tested when Penny, a statewide science-competition winner, is asked to join the Secret Science Society, leading her to break a promise made in their joint proclamation agreement. The two main girl characters are white; race and ethnicity are less clear for the other characters. A key boy character is immature, poorly behaved, and ultimately ridiculed. Otherwise, however, picture-book author Crimi infuses this unassuming transitional novel with compassion, humor, and a refreshing storyline in which girls organically weave a love for science into their everyday lives. Illustrations by Luyken add to the guileless sensibility.

A contemplation on the magic of friendship told with sweetness, simplicity, and science. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9493-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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