POLAR

WILDLIFE AT THE ENDS OF THE EARTH

First-rate from top to bottom.

Profiles of creatures living on opposite ends of our planet invite readers in more comfortable climes to compare and contrast.

The Arctic “is an ocean surrounded by land,” Carmichael writes, whereas “Antarctica is a land surrounded by ocean,” and though both are cold (if, as she ominously notes, getting warmer five times faster than anywhere else on Earth) and require similar adaptations to live there, each has distinctive and different wildlife. Flanked by tone-setting wordless spreads of forbidding snowscapes and matched to accurately detailed portraits of animals in natural settings, the book highlights differences and similarities between the two biota with looks at 13 exemplary pairs, arranged by month from one March to the next. These range from belugas in the north and male sperm whales in the south to woolly bear caterpillars (north) and flightless midges that are the Antarctic’s largest indigenous land animals, from ground squirrels and black rock cod—both the only true hibernators in their respective habitats—to baby lemmings and adult emperor penguins similarly huddling to conserve warmth. A comment on pollution at the poles and suggestions for young climate activists round off this unusually perceptive and informative visit to our (increasingly less) frozen zones. There are no human figures in view.

First-rate from top to bottom. (glossary, further reading, selected sources, index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9781525304576

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SPACE AND OTHER GALACTIC FACTS!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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