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Sobering news in a handsome package.

Although the southernmost continent is covered with ice all year round, wildlife still thrives in Antarctica—but the ecosystem there is threatened.

Batten worked with the Cousteau Society campaign against mineral exploitation in Antarctica in 1990. Her continued fascination with this relatively mysterious world, which has no permanent human population, is evident in her depiction of the life that does thrive there. Her descriptions are clear, concise, and interesting, whether she’s discussing forests of kelp, pastures of phytoplankton, and swarms of krill; the fish, whales, penguins, and seals at the top of the food chain; or the underwater invertebrates who live long and often grow to gigantic proportions. Her text is relatively substantial for a picture book, and it’s set against a backdrop of gorgeous Antarctic scenes created by Gonzalez using pastel, colored pencils, and airbrush. The animals are recognizable; the scenery is magnificent. After presenting the resident wildlife, the author introduces humans—scientists taking advantage of Antarctica’s protected status and sunlit summers for research of all kinds, including studying the effects of Earth’s changing climate. She describes the changes on the plant and animal life and the loss of sea ice, which also threatens the rest of the world. “Scientists estimate the melting of Antarctica’s land ice will lead to a rise in sea level of between 3 and 16 inches…by 2100.”

Sobering news in a handsome package. (map, further facts, author's note, glossary, acknowledgments, selected bibliography) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-151-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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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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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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