“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

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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