A welcome, equally successful companion to Lesser Spotted Animals.


How can we save animals if we’ve never heard of them?

In his introduction to this follow-up to Lesser Spotted Animals (2017), Brown explains that he aims to rectify that problem with this album of 26 more marvelous mammals from around the world: not “fancy-pants lions” but “the little guys” from “the big world of wildlife.” From the tree-dwelling dingiso of New Guinea (a “teddy bear kangaroo”) to the Celebes crested macaque (a “monkey with a mohawk”), the British author/illustrator has chosen curious creatures that are likely to appeal to middle-grade animal lovers everywhere. Some, such as the Syrian brown bear or the Indian giant squirrel, are unfamiliar variants of familiar species; others, like the shrewlike black and rufous sengi of eastern Africa or the Altai argali (a huge Mongolian sheep), are likely to be totally new. An engaging, informal text introduces the highlighted species and sometimes some similar relatives; boxed fast facts include a map of the animal’s range and, crucially, its International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List status, from data deficient or least concern to critically endangered. Dialogue balloons of animal commentary add humor throughout, even in the helpful and entertaining glossary. The illustrations include at least one relatively realistic portrait of each spotlighted animal as well as cartoony treatments. Page numbers and thumbnails in the table of contents add to the informational value of this lighthearted reminder of a serious environmental concern.

A welcome, equally successful companion to Lesser Spotted Animals. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-34961-0

Page Count: 56

Publisher: David Fickling/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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


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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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)



Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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