Sobering news in a handsome package.

LIFE IN A FROZEN WORLD

WILDLIFE OF ANTARCTICA

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. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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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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A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SPACE AND OTHER GALACTIC FACTS!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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