Fun just to browse but entertaining and enlightening to read.




Utilizing technology that mostly originated with treatments for humans, some animals are now being fitted with custom-designed prostheses.

This effort portrays in clear, simple language and numerous accompanying, attractive color photographs the experiences of a wide variety of animals that have benefitted from prostheses. Felix, a lamb who lost a rear leg to a predator; Fawn, a calf injured at birth; and Allison, a sea turtle missing three of her flippers, are among the animals described. Brutus, a Rottweiler who lost all four feet to frostbite, can now chase squirrels. Some homegrown solutions include such cleverly crafted devices as a Rollerblade wheelchair for a goose, a skateboard for an African tortoise, and a brace with wheels that’s restored mobility to a paralyzed rabbit. Following the brief chapters that focus on specific animals are some that describe the work of three makers of prostheses and orthotics, two of whom wear prosthetic limbs themselves. The text makes it clear that the challenges presented by disabled animals are unique, and each one requires creativity and imagination to surmount myriad obstacles. A refreshing minimum of sidebars makes for easy reading. Each chapter is printed on a different color background; one that employs white text on orange is less easy to read than others.

Fun just to browse but entertaining and enlightening to read. (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-87966-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Pretty but insubstantial.


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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A splendid volume for young adventurers.



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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