Child readers and educators will find themselves enthralled by short, punchy poems and the science behind them.


The amazing antics of amphibian acrobats unfurl.

Bulion and Meganck (Superlative Birds, 2019, etc.) again combine their literary and artistic wits (and scientific knowledge) to create a completely satisfying package for young people who want to learn about frogs (toads are classified with frogs), salamanders, and caecilians. Bulion not only appeals to their interest in poetics, but encourages kids to “Get Your Boots Wet!” It’s impossible not to warm to herpetology after reading aloud poems with lines about star-fingered toads like: “Her skin grows pockets, capped with lids, / to shield her embryonic kids, / whose tails shrink as they sprout four legs, / no tadpoles hatch—they stay in eggs, / ’til star-shaped toe and pointy snout / poke through Mom’s skin…pop, pop they’re out!” Meganck’s wry cartoons amplify the humor. The backmatter, strong as the main text, serves young readers well but will also spur teachers interested in multidisciplinary units on to new heights, serving as a model for many subjects. The poetry notes will provide lots of fodder for adults who want to introduce poetry in a systematic way, discussing both familiar forms and more esoteric poetry types, such as kyrielle and Skeltonic verse. The backmatter also includes a map (unlabeled) and a combined key to endangered status and relative size but no index.

Child readers and educators will find themselves enthralled by short, punchy poems and the science behind them. (glossary, resources) (Informational picture book/poetry. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-098-3

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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A hopeful and helpful addition to any nature library.



From the Sandra Markle's Science Discoveries series

Scientists solve the mystery of a disappearing zebra herd.

A herd of plains zebra regularly vanishes from the Chobe River flood plains in Namibia and Botswana during the dry season, but until Robin Naidoo and other scientists fitted some of these animals with GPS trackers, no one knew where they went or why. Markle (The Great Shark Rescue, 2019, etc.) ably describes the species, its habitat in the Serengeti Plain, the phenomenon of migration, the science research, and its surprising results: a “record-holding zebra migration” to the grasses in Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park, which have extra nutrients for the mares and the foals they bear there. Her clear explanations are accompanied by well-chosen and informatively captioned photographs from a variety of sources. The lively design includes a striking zebra-coat background surrounding boxes with additional information and images. Maps help American readers locate this migration in southern Africa. One that includes the tracked migration routes of eight females demonstrates the astonishing directness of the 155-mile journey undertaken by seven (the meandering route taken by the eighth is unexplained). The author concludes with concerns about the possible effects of the changing climate and how conservation groups are planning to help the zebras so that they can continue to travel unimpeded and find water on their way.

A hopeful and helpful addition to any nature library. (author’s note, fast facts, glossary, source notes, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-3837-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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