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Chock full of interesting ideas, this entertaining and informative selection’s distinct focus makes it stand out.

“Hey human! How goes it?”

Cheerful, factual text narrated by a jovial and opinionated ant introduces readers to some of the characteristics that humans have in common with other animals. Replete with puns and goofy humor, and illustrated with quirky, cartoon illustrations, various shared behaviors—both the familiar and the lesser-known—are explored in some detail, emphasizing the concept that humans are members rather than observers of the animal kingdom. Each spread focuses on a particular example such as farming (farmer ants, yeti crabs, damselfish), teaching (meerkats, fairy wrens, rock ants), laughing (dogs, rats, spotted hyenas), grieving (elephants, scrub jays, dogs), building (termites, beavers, wasps), using tools (chimps, bottlenose dolphins, sea otters), communicating (honeybees, prairie dogs, woodpeckers), grooming (cleaner shrimp, macaques, cats), playing (kangaroos, ravens, octopuses), cooperating (pied flycatchers, vampire bats, moray eels, groupers), and traveling (spiders, Alpine silver ants, saltwater crocodiles). Speech bubbles, spot illustrations, and easily digestible blocks of information make this a nice choice for reluctant readers or those who prefer graphic novels, while the concise, relevant, and humorously presented info will work well for school reports or just a fun read.

Chock full of interesting ideas, this entertaining and informative selection’s distinct focus makes it stand out. (glossary, suggested reading) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77147-326-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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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

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Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40.

From two Nobel Peace Prize winners, an invitation to look past sadness and loneliness to the joy that surrounds us.

Bobbing in the wake of 2016’s heavyweight Book of Joy (2016), this brief but buoyant address to young readers offers an earnest insight: “If you just focus on the thing that is making / you sad, then the sadness is all you see. / But if you look around, you will / see that joy is everywhere.” López expands the simply delivered proposal in fresh and lyrical ways—beginning with paired scenes of the authors as solitary children growing up in very different circumstances on (as they put it) “opposite sides of the world,” then meeting as young friends bonded by streams of rainbow bunting and going on to share their exuberantly hued joy with a group of dancers diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and locale while urging readers to do the same. Though on the whole this comes off as a bit bland (the banter and hilarity that characterized the authors’ recorded interchanges are absent here) and their advice just to look away from the sad things may seem facile in view of what too many children are inescapably faced with, still, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world more qualified to deliver such a message than these two. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48423-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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