CLEVER HANS

THE TRUE STORY OF THE COUNTING, ADDING, AND TIME-TELLING HORSE

An astonishing horse baffled both the public and the scientific community.

In 1904 Berlin, Wilhelm von Osten taught his horse, Clever Hans, how to count, discern colors, and perform other intellectual tasks. He then showcased Clever Hans’ talents to the masses, and people were astounded to see a horse that could seemingly tell time, add up sums, and count money! But not everyone believed the spectacle. Some thought there must be trickery involved. One scientist investigated independently, and the German government asked another to assemble a team of investigators. They decided it wasn’t a trick, but they still couldn’t understand the phenomenon. Then a scientist named Oskar Pfungst made an important discovery. What he realized about Clever Hans—who was certainly clever, just not quite in the way everyone thought—changed the scientific process forever. Kokias’ clear, accessible tone pairs well with Lowery’s cartoon style. The comically smiling horse invites readers in, and intermittent paneled frames help organize the flow of information and visually propel the storytelling arc. Von Osten, the investigators, and spectators present white. English translations of certain German words (“Zeitungen”—“Newspapers”) are also included, with playful arrows pointing readers to them. An author’s note further explains the “Clever Hans Effect” and how it changed science.

Clever, indeed. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-9 )

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51498-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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An amiable point-counterpoint for budding animal lovers/haters.

THE NOT BAD ANIMALS

Forty-two creatures of ill repute, from scorpions to hyenas, put on their best faces and protest that they’re just misunderstood.

In paired double-page spreads, Corrigan first presents for each animal the case for considering it scary or gross, then, with the page turn, allows it to contradict itself. “I’m creepy and I’m crawly,” a spider supposedly gloats. “I spin webs from my butt and leave them in places where I KNOW you’ll get stuck in them.” In the following spread, the spider points out that “Only half of my kind spin webs, and we really, REALLY don’t want you to get stuck in them!” Along with pointing to roles in the natural order and including many crowd-pleasing references to butts and poop, these counterarguments tend to run along the lines of the rat’s “I’m a fluffy little SWEETIE!” and the toad’s “I am a plump lump of CUTENESS!” Each testimonial is backed up by a box of background information baldly labeled “FACTS.” Readers may find the chorus of smiley faces and claims of adorability unconvincing, but they will at least come away with more nuanced impressions of each creepy-crawly. The humorous cartoon illustrations don’t measure up to the in-your-face photos of Seymour Simon’s classic Animals Nobody Loves (2001), but this gallery of beasties unfairly regarded as “icky and ewwy and downright gross” is considerably broader.

An amiable point-counterpoint for budding animal lovers/haters. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4748-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world.

DON'T LET THEM DISAPPEAR

An appeal to share concern for 12 familiar but threatened, endangered, or critically endangered animal species.

The subjects of Marino’s intimate, close-up portraits—fairly naturalistically rendered, though most are also smiling, glancing up at viewers through human eyes, and posed at rest with a cute youngling on lap or flank—steal the show. Still, Clinton’s accompanying tally of facts about each one’s habitat and daily routines, to which the title serves as an ongoing refrain, adds refreshingly unsentimental notes: “A single giraffe kick can kill a lion!”; “[S]hivers of whale sharks can sense a drop of blood if it’s in the water nearby, though they eat mainly plankton.” Along with tucking in collective nouns for each animal (some not likely to be found in major, or any, dictionaries: an “embarrassment” of giant pandas?), the author systematically cites geographical range, endangered status, and assumed reasons for that status, such as pollution, poaching, or environmental change. She also explains the specific meaning of “endangered” and some of its causes before closing with a set of doable activities (all uncontroversial aside from the suggestion to support and visit zoos) and a list of international animal days to celebrate.

A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51432-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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