Let this one pass you by.

READ REVIEW

WE TRAVEL SO FAR

While taking readers around the world, this book discusses various species’ migrations.

Twenty-six diverse species are discussed in this anthology of movement. Each animal is given a two-page spread that discusses the potential motivations for migration, and many hint at the challenges encountered along the way: The sockeye salmon must swim “past the hungry bears,” a snowy owl stoops menacingly over a pack of traveling Norway lemmings. The text is relatively sparse, offering five to six sentences about each species and its travels. Oddly, certain parts of the text are featured in an enlarged font, which may prompt emphasis if reading the book aloud, but its use is haphazard. The illustrations appear to be digitally created and span both pages, making good use of color and composition. If read to a class or group, the illustrations would project well to the back of the room. The final animals discussed are humans, and the range of ages, skin tones, and cultures is noteworthy. Sadly, though it’s in keeping with the very basic amount of information presented about animals, the information about human migration is superficial and will leave readers wanting more. The backmatter includes a map of the world, but migration patterns are not marked on it. Two pages of bare-bones data complete the book (with measurements in both English and metric systems); it, too, is scanty.

Let this one pass you by. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77085-985-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Pretty but insubstantial.

THE BIG BOOK OF BIRDS

Zommer surveys various bird species from around the world in this oversized (almost 14 inches tall tall) volume.

While exuberantly presented, the information is not uniformly expressed from bird to bird, which in the best cases will lead readers to seek out additional information and in the worst cases will lead to frustration. For example, on spreads that feature multiple species, the birds are not labeled. This happens again later when the author presents facts about eggs: Readers learn about camouflaged eggs, but the specific eggs are not identified, making further study extremely difficult. Other facts are misleading: A spread on “city birds” informs readers that “peregrine falcons nest on skyscrapers in New York City”—but they also nest in other large cities. In a sexist note, a peahen is identified as “unlucky” because she “has drab brown feathers” instead of flashy ones like the peacock’s. Illustrations are colorful and mostly identifiable but stylized; Zommer depicts his birds with both eyes visible at all times, even when the bird is in profile. The primary audience for the book appears to be British, as some spreads focus on European birds over their North American counterparts, such as the mute swan versus the trumpeter swan and the European robin versus the American robin. The backmatter, a seven-word glossary and an index, doesn’t provide readers with much support.

Pretty but insubstantial. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-500-65151-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

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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