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 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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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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More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.


From the Over and Under series

In a new entry in the Over and Under series, a paddleboarder glimpses humpback whales leaping, floats over a populous kelp forest, and explores life on a beach and in a tide pool.

In this tale inspired by Messner’s experiences in Monterey Bay in California, a young tan-skinned narrator, along with their light-skinned mom and tan-skinned dad, observes in quiet, lyrical language sights and sounds above and below the sea’s serene surface. Switching perspectives and angles of view and often leaving the family’s red paddleboards just tiny dots bobbing on distant swells, Neal’s broad seascapes depict in precise detail bat stars and anchovies, kelp bass, and sea otters going about their business amid rocky formations and the swaying fronds of kelp…and, further out, graceful moon jellies and—thrillingly—massive whales in open waters beneath gliding pelicans and other shorebirds. After returning to the beach at day’s end to search for shells and to spot anemones and decorator crabs, the child ends with nighttime dreams of stars in the sky meeting stars in the sea. Appended nature notes on kelp and 21 other types of sealife fill in details about patterns and relationships in this rich ecosystem. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79720-347-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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