“Seriously funny facts” that will fly off the shelves.

THE TRUTH ABOUT BUTTERFLIES

From the Truth About Your Favorite Animals series

Eaton explores butterflies.

Having won over his young readers with titles about a wide variety of vertebrates, such as The Truth About Hawks (2019), Eaton introduces insects—with a focus on butterflies—with his signature combination of carefully chosen facts and engaging fantasy. Here, his cast of characters includes a brown-skinned human observer who uses a wheelchair and a hungry cat as well as a wide range of talking butterflies. A selection of colorful species is shown at actual size on an early spread. The author describes some of their “useful parts” (proboscis, antennae, compound eyes, tarsi) and how they avoid being eaten. One double-page spread examines how butterflies differ from moths, with butterflies on verso in the daytime and moths across the gutter on recto at night. Appropriately, Eaton devotes the most space to chronicling butterfly metamorphosis, using the monarch (studied in many classrooms) to illustrate each stage. He tells his young readers how to distinguish male and female monarchs and describes the search for a mate. Winter can be a problem: Some types of butterflies die, some hibernate, and monarchs fly to Mexico. Finally he mentions human threats. To help, his readers can care for butterfly gardens or even help raise butterflies from caterpillars. His cartoon-style illustrations feature firm black outlines and bright colors. They deserve careful attention: They reinforce the solid information and add sly humor. (A poop/pupa joke will help retention of that particular vocabulary word.)

“Seriously funny facts” that will fly off the shelves. (further facts, further research) (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-23253-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Well-intentioned but likely to overwhelm the intended readers and listeners.

THE MESS THAT WE MADE

The cadences of a familiar nursery rhyme introduce concerns about ocean garbage and what we, who made the mess, can do to help clean it up.

With the rhyme and meter of “The House That Jack Built,” Lord builds the problem of plastic waste in the oceans from the fish that must swim through it to a netted seal, a trapped turtle, and overflowing landfills before turning to remedies: cleaning beaches and bays, reducing waste, and protesting the use of fishing nets. Two pages of backmatter describe problems in more detail, while a third elaborates potential solutions; suggestions for individual action are provided as well. Blattman’s images begin with a racially diverse group of youngsters in a small boat in the center of a plastic trash gyre. The children, shown at different angles, bob spread by spread over trash-filled waters. To accompany the words, “Look at the mess that we made,” she adds a polluted city skyline and a container ship belching smoke to the scene. Finally, the dismayed young boaters reach a beach where a clean-up is in process. From their little skiff they help scoop up trash, rescue the turtle, and wave protest signs. The message is important, even vital in today’s world, but many caregivers and many environmentalists would eschew this doomful approach as a means of introducing environmental concerns to the early-elementary audience who might be drawn in by the nursery rhyme.

Well-intentioned but likely to overwhelm the intended readers and listeners. (map) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947277-14-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flashlight Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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