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

AMPHIBIAN ACROBATS

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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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)

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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