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

READ REVIEW

ACTING WILD

HOW WE BEHAVE LIKE BIRDS, BUGS, AND BEASTS

“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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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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