A funny and nutritious flow of information.

The blue-footed birds with the funny name do put in cameos but are not the subject here.

With tongue so firmly in cheek that it may be hard to extract, Vo plays deliriously with words and expectations but also delivers a frank overview of mammary glands across (relevant) species and even (as pictures of stylized but unmistakably female figurines from prehistoric Austria, the Cyclades, and Ghana demonstrate) the ages. Repeating the titular sobriquet as often as possible, she explains what they’re for (even adding a mention of plant-based milk) and notes that different mammals have different numbers of breasts, from a cow’s four “booby tubes” (“Udderly fascinating!”) to a mother dog’s 10. Humans, she writes, have two, and they are called “breasts.” The stencil art is highlighted both by an image of a dark-skinned human adult breastfeeding an infant and, to suggest the wide variety of breast shapes and sizes, an entire page of them rendered as daubs and dots—mostly in pairs but including representations of single and double mastectomies. Human figures elsewhere are diversely hued and discreetly posed or clothed. Along with transforming any future mention of the Grand Tetons into an occasion for giggles (“There are mountains that some say are named after boobies”), this disquisition will turn young audiences into expert “boobiologists.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A funny and nutritious flow of information. (source note) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-77306-692-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

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 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021


From the Over and Under series

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.

In a new entry in the Over and Under series, a paddleboarder glimpses humpback whales leaping, floats over a populous kelp forest, and explores life on a beach and in a tide pool.

In this tale inspired by Messner’s experiences in Monterey Bay in California, a young tan-skinned narrator, along with their light-skinned mom and tan-skinned dad, observes in quiet, lyrical language sights and sounds above and below the sea’s serene surface. Switching perspectives and angles of view and often leaving the family’s red paddleboards just tiny dots bobbing on distant swells, Neal’s broad seascapes depict in precise detail bat stars and anchovies, kelp bass, and sea otters going about their business amid rocky formations and the swaying fronds of kelp…and, further out, graceful moon jellies and—thrillingly—massive whales in open waters beneath gliding pelicans and other shorebirds. After returning to the beach at day’s end to search for shells and to spot anemones and decorator crabs, the child ends with nighttime dreams of stars in the sky meeting stars in the sea. Appended nature notes on kelp and 21 other types of sealife fill in details about patterns and relationships in this rich ecosystem. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79720-347-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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