OUR FAMILY TREE

AN EVOLUTION STORY

Luminous, eye-filling paintings accompany a poetic disquisition on our ancestors, from primordial single-celled creatures to dexterous, big-brained walkers. Framing the discourse with scenes of an adult drawing linked pictures in the sand for two children, Stringer (Mud, 2001, etc.) gives her dramatically posed prehistoric figures even more visual impact by outlining them in light, and placing them against vivid, undulant sea- or landscapes. Beginning with the appearance of multi-celled organisms, Peters (Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck, 2000, etc.) traces successive developmental watersheds, including the appearance of backbones, lungs, warm blood, milk, and finally hands, through two major mass extinctions and up the present—then appends more detailed recapitulations of each stage in glosses and a separate time line. Source notes from author and illustrator cap a lyrical, carefully researched look into our deep past that will give young readers a firm sense of their place within the long history of life on this planet. (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-15-201772-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

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THE PUMPKIN BOOK

The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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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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