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An intriguing look at bugs (and other insects) that bug us.

Introducing irritating insects.

Slightly mistitled, this British import covers six insect families that have been annoying humans throughout history (but not all of whom bite): mosquitoes, lice, wasps, cockroaches, fleas, and bedbugs. Opening with a definition of insects and the entomologists who study them, Pakpour proceeds to describe each of these large families in three to five spreads: appearance, impact on humans, habits and habitat, and development from egg to adult insect. The author differentiates between the complete metamorphoses of mosquitoes, wasps, and fleas and the incomplete metamorphoses of lice, cockroaches, and bedbugs. She notes that, unlike most of the other insects covered here, cockroaches don’t feed on human blood—though our food, wallpaper, and fingernails are all on the menu. For fleas, humans are a second choice. Pakpour describes how to distinguish between male mosquitoes, which don’t bite, and females, which do. The text is presented in short paragraphs with clear headings and subheadings, all set against Davey’s colorful, stylized images of an astonishing variety of insects. In an elementary overview of such a large subject, obviously much will be left out, but Pakpour has picked intriguing details about the specialized spit of mosquitoes and lice, how wasps pre-chew food for their babies, and cockroach-inspired robots. She concludes with a statement about the importance of insects to the world’s ecosystems.

An intriguing look at bugs (and other insects) that bug us. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2023

ISBN: 9781838748623

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

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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

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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