A brief but informative look at an extraordinary ecosystem.

READ REVIEW

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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A splendid volume for young adventurers.

SURVIVOR KID

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WILDERNESS SURVIVAL

Based on her work with middle-school students, Long offers lessons on how to stay healthy and out of trouble while awaiting rescue, the same lessons taught to adults in her survival classes.

Her matter-of-fact, no-nonsense tone will play well with young readers, and the clear writing style is appropriate to the content. The engaging guide covers everything from building shelters to avoiding pigs and javelinas. With subjects like kissing bugs, scorpions, snow blindness and “How going to the bathroom can attract bears and mountain lions,” the volume invites browsing as much as studying. The information offered is sometimes obvious: “If you find yourself facing an alligator, get away from it”; sometime humorous: Raccoons will “fight with your dog, steal all your food, then climb up a tree and call you bad names in raccoon language”; and sometimes not comforting: “When alligators attack on land, they usually make one grab at you; if they miss, you are usually safe.” But when survival is at stake, the more information the better, especially when leavened with some wit. An excellent bibliography will lead young readers to a host of fascinating websites, and 150 clipart-style line drawings complement the text.

A splendid volume for young adventurers. (index not seen) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56976-708-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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Pretty but insubstantial.

THE BIG BOOK OF BIRDS

Zommer surveys various bird species from around the world in this oversized (almost 14 inches tall tall) volume.

While exuberantly presented, the information is not uniformly expressed from bird to bird, which in the best cases will lead readers to seek out additional information and in the worst cases will lead to frustration. For example, on spreads that feature multiple species, the birds are not labeled. This happens again later when the author presents facts about eggs: Readers learn about camouflaged eggs, but the specific eggs are not identified, making further study extremely difficult. Other facts are misleading: A spread on “city birds” informs readers that “peregrine falcons nest on skyscrapers in New York City”—but they also nest in other large cities. In a sexist note, a peahen is identified as “unlucky” because she “has drab brown feathers” instead of flashy ones like the peacock’s. Illustrations are colorful and mostly identifiable but stylized; Zommer depicts his birds with both eyes visible at all times, even when the bird is in profile. The primary audience for the book appears to be British, as some spreads focus on European birds over their North American counterparts, such as the mute swan versus the trumpeter swan and the European robin versus the American robin. The backmatter, a seven-word glossary and an index, doesn’t provide readers with much support.

Pretty but insubstantial. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-500-65151-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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