A brief but informative look at an extraordinary ecosystem.

AVATI

DISCOVERING ARCTIC ECOLOGY

An ecologist who lives and works in Earth’s far, far north describes the changing seasons in the part of the world the Inuit call Nunavut—“our land.”

Weaving together information about the land and water, plants and animals, Pelletier provides a clear depiction of an Arctic environment. Unlike some introductions to this part of the world, this account presents a full web of life. Her food chain begins with the tiny algae underneath the sea ice. From diatoms and amphipods to the fish, birds, insects and mammals that inhabit the land and the sea edges of this environment (avati in Inuit), she connects them to one another, to the plants of the brief summer and to the changing stages of ice. She doesn’t hesitate to introduce new vocabulary (defined in a concluding glossary), Inuit words (defined in context) and onomatopoetic sounds. What appear to be pencil-and-watercolor illustrations extend far across the gutters. Appropriately matched with the text, set in a column on the right-hand side of each spread, they reward careful inspection. Teachers and librarians may want to pair this useful title with A Walk on the Tundra, by Rebecca Hainnu and Anna Ziegler, illustrated by Qin Leng (2011) from the same Inuit publisher.

A brief but informative look at an extraordinary ecosystem. (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-9270-9513-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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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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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

FLASH FACTS

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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