This picture book is a pleasure to read and is sure to become the favorite of some future naturalist.

ANIMAL HOMES

From the Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series

Children know that wild animals live outside, and this book offers them the opportunity to see where and learn how they live.

In Holland’s crisp photographs, readers will see animals and their habitats up close and in detail. Each image is bright and clear, revealing impressive amounts of texture. One can imagine the slick foam of the spittle bug’s home, the smooth coat of a black bear, or the coarse nubbling of bark. The very first spread presents a picture of a beaver with webbed feet and remarkably interesting claws that look like human fingernails; it appears as an inset over a full-bleed, spread-spanning photo of a beaver lodge in an autumn landscape. A few pages in, there is an equally striking shot of a bald-faced hornet and another of an army of tent caterpillars building silk. In total, the book covers 12 animals and insects and would be useful to bring along during a camping trip, a walk through a local park, or even a walk to a favorite neighborhood tree, so that children will have the opportunity to see and perhaps interact with some of the habitats of the animals around them. Four pages of backmatter encourage further engagement with the topic. Holland also carefully introduces new vocabulary to children, folding in such words as “burrow,” “drey,” and “snag” throughout, with explanations within the text. (Due to Covid complications, this book will publish in paperback on pub date and in hardcover in Jan. 2021.)

This picture book is a pleasure to read and is sure to become the favorite of some future naturalist. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64351-750-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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Just the ticket for an armchair outing to the red planet.

MARS! EARTHLINGS WELCOME

From the Our Universe series , Vol. 5

Good news! Planet Marvelous is looking forward to visitors from Planet Awesome.

With the same exuberance that propelled readers deep into her Ocean! Waves for All (2020), illustrated by David Litchfield, and its three predecessors in the Our Universe series, McAnulty looks to the next planet out for a fresh set of enticing natural wonders. Billing itself a “party planet” (“I want to be the FIRST planet with human guests”), the russet raconteur trumpets its unique attractions. These range from moons Deimos and Phobos (“I know Earth is totally jealous”) to Olympus Mons and Valles Marineris, which is “four times as deep as the Grand Canyon! And not nearly as crowded.” Sure, unlike Spirit, Opportunity, and other rovers, human visitors will have to pack their own water and oxygen in addition to traveling millions of miles…but given a few technological advances, soon enough it’ll be time to “get this party started!” Prospective tourists diverse of age and race are dancing already on Earth in a final scene in anticipation of a trip to our “reMARkable” neighbor. Quiz questions and a timeline cap an enticement that echoes Susanna Leonard Hill’s Mars’ First Friends: Come on Over, Rovers! (2020), illustrated by Elisa Paganelli, in its fizzy mix of fact and fancy. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 75% of actual size.)

Just the ticket for an armchair outing to the red planet. (sources) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-25688-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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This charming star shines bright.

THE SUN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

A humorous introduction to our sun and the solar system.

Webcomic creator Seluk aquaints readers with the sun (sporting a sly grin and a cool pair of shades) and its position as both the literal and metaphorical star of the solar system. Readers are introduced to the planets’ general relationships to the sun before diving deeper into the Earth’s unique reliance on the sun: “It does a ton of important jobs for Earth. In fact, we wouldn’t be around without the Sun!” The book explores everything from the effects of Earth’s rotation on our planet’s temperatures, daylight, and seasons to the water cycle and photosynthesis with clear and friendly prose. The planets’ characterizations are silly and irreverent: Venus wears a visor, Saturn is a hula-hoop champ, and Jupiter desperately wants an autograph but pretends it’s for one of its moons. Speech-bubble asides and simple but expressive faces and arm postures add to the celestial bodies’ personalities. Bright colors, contrasting backgrounds, and bold lines are engaging but never overwhelming. Vocabulary words set in boldface are tied to a glossary in the back. Backmatter also includes a gossip-magazine–style spread (“Planets: They’re Just Like Us!”) and a “Did You Know” section that highlights ancient civilizations’ beliefs about the sun.

This charming star shines bright. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-16697-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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