For fans of animal-rescue accounts and 21st-century technology.

READ REVIEW

KARL'S NEW BEAK

3-D PRINTING BUILDS A BIRD A BETTER LIFE

Using a 3-D printer, zoo employees construct a prosthesis for an injured bird.

At the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., staff members are concerned with the feeding difficulties of Karl, an Abyssinian ground hornbill living in the cheetah exhibit. Hoping to restore his ability to eat normally so they can breed him, they come up with a solution for his broken bottom beak. They mend it using a pattern from a museum skeleton and 3-D printing technology. A number of recent titles for young readers describe the work of humans to make lives better for injured or abandoned animals. Unusually, here the special focus is on the process: the complicated and painstaking repair of Karl’s lower beak, including the construction of its replacement part. Thoughtful design makes this very clear: Illustrations cleverly combine actual photographs with drawings and diagrams, printed in blue and white like blueprints. Readers see Karl in his enclosure, before-and-after close-ups, and the veterinarian, exhibits specialist, and exhibit curator (all white-presenting) who work together to restore the beak. There are also photos of the printing process as well as sanding and gluing the new bill. The straightforward text introduces the bird, explains how hornbills use their beaks in the wild, and follows the process step by step. Backmatter includes more facts about hornbills in the wild and about Karl in particular as well as a glossary with unusually helpful definitions.

For fans of animal-rescue accounts and 21st-century technology. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68446-026-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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