Overall, a fun read and a smart selection for any elementary nature shelf.

READ REVIEW

SNAILS ARE JUST MY SPEED!

TOON LEVEL 1

From the Giggle and Learn series

Young naturalists will love McCloskey’s look at snails.

In a manner most unsnaillike, McClokey zooms from fact to fact as he informs and entertains readers with information about these surprisingly interesting gastropods. The pacing never feels rushed, however, as the facts transition as smoothly as if on a “road of slimy mucus.” Readers will learn how slowly snails move as compared to other creatures, the advantages of moving slowly, and how they influence the journeys of other snails (spoiler alert: Mucus just may be involved). Fans of The Real Poop on Pigeons (2016) and We Dig Worms (2015) will get a kick out of this latest installment in the fact-based early graphic novel series. The information is paired with colorful cartoon illustrations that toe the line between caricature and surrealism. While the snails are the book’s stars, they are observed by a group of racially diverse children. Savvy educators will appreciate the book’s versatility: It would be the star of an intimate gross-book–themed storytime (due to its relatively small size) or may be used as the inspiration for a pre-K lesson plan on anything from wildlife and nature to gardening to body fluids.

Overall, a fun read and a smart selection for any elementary nature shelf. (Graphic informational early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943145-27-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Budding meteorologists have no shortage of introductory books from which to choose, but the clean design may help this one...

LITTLE KIDS FIRST BIG BOOK OF WEATHER

From the National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books series

An inviting photographic guide to the strange and surprising state of air all around us.

Bold photographs and color-coded chapters slice this info-packed primer into manageable portions. Each section of standard weather fare (hot, cold, wind, and rain) has a dedicated background tone, while brief mentions of weather folklore, scientific tools, and climate change complete the package. Questions to readers printed in text boxes lend themselves to further conversation, while brightly colored bubbles shout small facts and tidbits. De Seve neatly relates lessons to everyday life, as when she suggests readers imagine steam from a pot when talking about clouds. Intriguing extras include the Beaufort scale and the list of possible hurricane names for the years 2015 through 2020—which readers will quickly scour to see if their own names made the cut. Alas, the text doesn’t mention the practice of retiring names, so some astute kids may wonder why well-known past storms aren’t included. Games at the ends of chapters are meant to reinforce lessons learned, but most are just quick puzzles to add a bit of liveliness. The variety of skin tones of humans portrayed in the carefully chosen photographs is appreciated.

Budding meteorologists have no shortage of introductory books from which to choose, but the clean design may help this one stand out. (parent tips, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2719-3

Page Count: 132

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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A stilted, if worthy, celebration desperately in need of better writing and art.

BLUE ROUND EARTH

An appreciation of our planet as a protective and nurturing “big house.”

“We all live together in harmony on the land,” writes Lee with rather more lyricism than strict accuracy. The author then goes on to tally our planet’s range of climates and environments, trace the water cycle, describe the atmosphere, and explain why we have seasons. Translation (uncredited) issues aren’t all that hobble this Korean import, but such lines as “On Earth, many things always happen,” and “The air traps the hot solar heat” likely read better in the original. More problematically, the illustrator represents humanity with a crudely drawn, pale-skinned child with dark hair and clownishly heavy red lips; the generic settings teem with equally generic flora and smiling fauna. Also, the schematic view of Earth’s orbit around the sun is hard to parse, as it lacks directional arrows or (aside from a confusingly stylized deciduous tree) seasonal labels. The author restates the “harmony” theme, then closes with “Thank you, Earth!”

A stilted, if worthy, celebration desperately in need of better writing and art. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-939248-22-0

Page Count: 30

Publisher: TanTan

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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