Quirky, informative, and far from soporific.

SNOOZE-O-RAMA

THE STRANGE WAYS THAT ANIMALS SLEEP

One dozen common sleeping habits or rituals in human beings are compared to those of a dozen different nonhuman animals.

The first page warns readers to quiet down since the animals in the book are sleepy and need to rest. A few more brief sentences conversationally introduce the book’s premise. However, the book is far from a bedtime story. Even that initial page sports vividly colored sleepy animals, and they are yawning and stretching over a background that is several shades brighter than lavender. The facing page sets up a pleasant, repeating pattern. Instead of the full bleed of the verso, stark white frames a roughly hewn oblong, within which a cartoon child snuggles in a bedroom in solid hues of cool-palette colors. “While you cover yourself with a blanket…” begins the litany, “…an otter wraps itself in seaweed,” proclaims black print over a background of rippling blues upon the page turn. Three seaweed-swaddled sea otters drift below a short, informative paragraph that compares the use of the seaweed to both a blanket and a boat’s anchor. The text’s tone is lighthearted, with humorous word choices conveying fascinating facts. How imaginative to compare a child pulling on pajamas to a parrotfish nightly “burping up” its protective coating of slime! Upbeat graphics provide a wide range of human diversity, including one White child who uses a wheelchair and a family that appears to be multiracial.

Quirky, informative, and far from soporific. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77147-404-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An amiable point-counterpoint for budding animal lovers/haters.

THE NOT BAD ANIMALS

Forty-two creatures of ill repute, from scorpions to hyenas, put on their best faces and protest that they’re just misunderstood.

In paired double-page spreads, Corrigan first presents for each animal the case for considering it scary or gross, then, with the page turn, allows it to contradict itself. “I’m creepy and I’m crawly,” a spider supposedly gloats. “I spin webs from my butt and leave them in places where I KNOW you’ll get stuck in them.” In the following spread, the spider points out that “Only half of my kind spin webs, and we really, REALLY don’t want you to get stuck in them!” Along with pointing to roles in the natural order and including many crowd-pleasing references to butts and poop, these counterarguments tend to run along the lines of the rat’s “I’m a fluffy little SWEETIE!” and the toad’s “I am a plump lump of CUTENESS!” Each testimonial is backed up by a box of background information baldly labeled “FACTS.” Readers may find the chorus of smiley faces and claims of adorability unconvincing, but they will at least come away with more nuanced impressions of each creepy-crawly. The humorous cartoon illustrations don’t measure up to the in-your-face photos of Seymour Simon’s classic Animals Nobody Loves (2001), but this gallery of beasties unfairly regarded as “icky and ewwy and downright gross” is considerably broader.

An amiable point-counterpoint for budding animal lovers/haters. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4748-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more