Riotous reading for students of snot flowers and fans of fecal facts.



Ready for a slide through some of the animal kingdom’s more revolting behaviors? Cue the mucus!

Arrays of big, bright nature photos showing more than 50 creatures ranging from cute, fuzzy cottontails and baby pandas to the ever popular Pacific hagfish and evocatively named pustulated carrion beetle (not to mention—but let’s—the bone-eating snot flower worm) anchor this gleeful introduction to many of nature’s poop eaters, slime exuders, projectile vomiters, carrion recyclers, and butt squirters. As if it were necessary, regular sidebars offer “Extra Ick!” to a commentary punctuated by the occasional “Yuck!” or “Now, that’s disgusting!” Stewart happily brings on the gross as she trumpets the “Toxic Toots” of the beaded lacewing’s larva, buzzes over flesh fly maggots that eat out harlequin toads from the inside (“That’s right: In this scenario, the toad croaks”), and flings out stomach-churning facts about “vile vittles” and the many uses of spit. If most of the photos aren’t as explicit as the text, which may disappoint some readers, they do consistently provide riveting close-ups of the wild kingdom guaranteed to leave even the most committed animal lovers a touch queasy.

Riotous reading for students of snot flowers and fans of fecal facts. (glossary, index, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3746-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...



The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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The cleanup, finger pointing, litigation and economic recovery are still ongoing, but this overview of the Deepwater Horizon disaster offers a short and coherent account of the spill itself, the well’s eventual capping and, in broad strokes, the immediate environmental impact. Noting that the initial explosion occurred the very night of a ceremony commending the crew’s safety record (but not going into the long tally of construction shortcuts that made that ceremony so disingenuous), Landau provides a linear nonjudgmental account of major events between the April 20 eruption and the announcement of a permanent plug on Sep. 19, 2010. Big color photos add views of the platform burning, ships cleaning up oil slicks, oil-soaked wildlife and damaged coastal areas, along with smaller murky pictures of the failed blowout preventer on the ocean floor and the replacement cap. Additional graphics provide clear views of the technology—the rig itself, a cross-section of the blowout preventer and the relief well in relation to the original well—and a map of the Gulf coastline shows the affected areas. Limited, out of date and entirely based on secondary sources as it is, this still presents younger audiences a slightly more complete picture than Mona Chiang’s Oil Spill Disaster (2000). Includes eco-activities, resource lists and a tally of other major spills. (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-7485-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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