Next book



As factually grounded as it is irresistibly fun.

Leigh follows up The Deep! (2023)—a dive into undersea life—with a celebration of cave-dwelling creatures.

This work of graphic nonfiction starts with a brief, easily digestible introduction to caves before moving on to its true focus: the animal inhabitants. The longest section is devoted to the troglobites, full-time cave dwellers that have adapted to a life of total darkness; other sections cover the troglophiles, which spend at least part of their life cycles in caves, and the trogloxenes, such as bats and bears, that just show up for visits. Double-page spreads explore selected cave animals, offering fascinating tidbits—such as the difference between an olm and an axolotl—sure to tempt youngsters into learning more about their favorite critters. Leigh’s strong sense of humor is on display throughout, from plainly stated facts about animals’ bodily excretions to moments where the creatures—occasionally anthropomorphized but always accurately depicted—offer quirky commentary through speech bubbles. Although she occasionally mentions how these creatures can benefit people (for instance, studying the Mexican tetra, a fish with high blood sugar, might help us treat diabetes), for the most part, she encourages readers to love these places and species for their own sake. Final sections spotlight cool caves around the world (like Vietnam’s Son Doong cave, which is so big that it contains a rainforest in it), humanity’s own history with caves, and the dangers humans pose to such environments.

As factually grounded as it is irresistibly fun. (index) (Graphic nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 9, 2024

ISBN: 9780593662595

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2024

Next book

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

Next book


Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Close Quickview