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Offers a crowd-pleasing angle on both nature and poetry.

Poetic observations from nature’s more nauseating reaches, with gleefully gut-churning explanatory comments.

“Cute koala bear / Baby nuzzles Mama’s butt, / Munches poop. Still cute?” Covering everything from hagfish (“darlings of the slime world”) to Surinam toad hatchlings, which pop “like zits” out of pits in mama toad’s back, these 14 haiku offer examples of nature in rousingly revolting action, along with tasty tidbits of prose commentary. In the latter, while determinedly going for the gross, Brunelle carefully sticks to the facts; she even explains, for example, why honey isn’t really bee barf, “if you want to get technical,” because it’s never in a bee’s stomach. She ends with helpful leads to websites and other books. To the relief of more sensitive human stomachs, Patton tones down the “ew!” factor in her animated illustrations. Yes, the inky cap mushrooms do drip with black slime, and her extreme close-up view of a jawless but far from toothless hagfish mouth is nightmarish (“So, enjoy that,” the author writes), but Patton renders anatomical details with reasonable fidelity, and in general the art is more likely to elicit giggles than gags. Better yet, this STEAM-y mix closes with an invitation for readers to try their hands at “haiku-ew” of their own that they’ll find hard to resist.

Offers a crowd-pleasing angle on both nature and poetry. (Informational picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781728492506

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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An affectionate picture of bears and bear scientists, capped with a page of moon bear facts and an afterword.

Not one but three roly-poly moon bear cubs star in this true animal rescue tale.

Orphaned by poachers, Yasha, joined later by Shum and Shiksha, are nurtured by Pokrovskaya and another scientist for nearly two years on a game preserve until they were ready to be released into the Siberian wild. Taking a slightly anthropomorphized bear’s-eye point of view (“Yasha was happy with his new home”), Kvatum chronicles the cubs’ development as they learn to forage on their own while playing together and learning to climb trees. She also notes how important it is for human observers to remain aloof—minimizing physical contact and even wearing scent-concealing clothing—to prevent the animals from becoming dependent or domesticated. Looking positively fetching in the big, color photos, shaggy Yasha and his ursine cohorts grow visibly as they ramble through woodsy settings, splash in a river and survive an encounter with a prowling tiger before being deemed ready to live on their own.

An affectionate picture of bears and bear scientists, capped with a page of moon bear facts and an afterword. (map, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: July 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4263-1051-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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“Humans are lucky to have rodents,” Munro argues…and makes her case with equal warmth to hearts and minds.

Twenty-one representatives of the largest mammalian order pose in this fetching portrait gallery.

Each one depicted, all or in part, at actual size, the rodentine array begins with a pocket-watch–size African pygmy jerboa and concludes with the largest member of the clan, the “sweet-looking capybara.” In between, specimens climb the scale past chipmunks and northern flying squirrels to a Norway rat, porcupine, and groundhog. Despite a few outliers such as the naked mole rat and a rather aggressive-looking beaver, Munro’s animals—particularly her impossibly cute guinea pig—strongly exude shaggy, button-eyed appeal. Her subjects may come across as eye candy, but they are drawn with naturalistic exactitude, and in her accompanying descriptive comments, she often relates certain visible features to distinctive habitats and behaviors. She also has a terrific feel for the memorable fact: naked mole rats run as quickly backward in their tunnels as forward; African giant pouched rats have been trained to sniff out mines; the house mouse “is a romantic. A male mouse will sing squeaky love songs to his girlfriend” (that are, fortunately or otherwise, too high for humans to hear). Closing summaries will serve budding naturalists in need of further specifics about sizes, diets, geographical ranges, and the like.

“Humans are lucky to have rodents,” Munro argues…and makes her case with equal warmth to hearts and minds. (websites, index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3860-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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