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A climate-conscious celebration of some small, helpful creatures of the world.

A little call to action.

Common critters like fireflies are presented alongside more-obscure critters like tardigrades in this informational picture book. Illustrations of anthropomorphic animals energetically introduce each topical double-page spread along with eye-catching chunky black headings. The visual composition of each spread is consistent, a design choice that will help younger readers navigate the information but that may also lead to interest loss. Two callout circles anchored in the bottom left and top right corners offer a fun fact and an “actual size” comparison, respectively. Choices of common items like a crayon to describe the actual size of a millipede offer an opportunity for children and their grown-ups to gather the objects for further understanding. The bottom-left fun fact threatens to compete with the brief introduction of each animal. Several paragraphs of information on each recto are paired with a realistic graphic of each animal. The information about honeybees, krill, and reticulated glass frogs calls out climate change as a challenge, while least weasels and termites are connected to their larger ecosystems as helpers. The take-home message reminds children that they and their actions matter even if the world makes them feel small. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A climate-conscious celebration of some small, helpful creatures of the world. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77147-431-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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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

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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