A breezy compendium for STEM-winders and casual browsers alike.



Clear evidence that there’s no such thing as a silly question.

Even the titular query gets a serious answer here (it has to do with the amount of stored energy that can be harnessed). It appears along with 49 more gathered at the Ontario Science Centre, including “Where does wind come from?”; “Why do we die?”; “What is time?”; and “If I were to sneeze in outer space, would my head blow up?” (Answer: no, but according to those “astro-snots…who have sneezed in micro-gravity, the force gently propel[s] them in the direction opposite to where their noses [are] pointing.” Emphasizing the efficacy of the scientific method (“Ask. Test. Repeat. It works”), Vermond draws from cited expert sources to explain in simple language a wide range of biological, geological, and astronomical phenomena—at least as currently understood—while not shying away from admitting that mysteries aplenty remain. Ogawa furnishes cartoon illustrations featuring a physically and racially diverse array of children as well as the odd smiling animal, rock, or nose-picking ET. A final question, “What hasn’t been invented?” prompts the author to open the floor to readers.

A breezy compendium for STEM-winders and casual browsers alike. (sources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77321-302-6

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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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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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)



Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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