Growing up beautiful and carnivorous.

READ REVIEW

NIC BISHOP BIG CATS

As noted early on: “This book is about the largest and most powerful of all cats.”

These are, technically, big cats: tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, snow leopards, and clouded leopards. Pumas and cheetahs have been included because, although they are more closely related to house cats, they are…big. Bishop is a wildlife photographer par excellence, filling every double-page spread with photographs—make that portraits—that arrest beholders. The layout is eye-catching, with generously leaded, large print, sometimes in colored ink, over photographic backgrounds or blocks of color; each page always includes one sentence in oversized type. The text is accessible, modulating between conversational and lyrical. Emphasis is placed on how big cats become skilled hunters, with details not for the faint of heart. Of a lion: “Saber-like canine teeth pierce and hold the struggling animal, giving it little chance of escape.” However, readers are spared any gore in the photographs, and the text is tactful about feline territorial disputes. Facts about specific big cats are used both to highlight differences and to demonstrate similarities across species. There’s vocabulary too, such as the word “coalition,” referring to a group of young, male cheetahs. Some readers may find that the use of “lioness” for female lions has a slightly anachronistic sound. The book ends with the recounting of some fascinating stories related to photographing cats in the wild, thoughtfully meting out compassion for both predators and prey.

Growing up beautiful and carnivorous. (index, glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-60577-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

It’s not the most dramatic version, but it’s a visually effective and serviceable addition to the rapidly growing shelf of...

THE FIRST MEN WHO WENT TO THE MOON

A 50th-anniversary commemoration of the epochal Apollo 11 mission.

Modeling her account on “The House That Jack Built” (an unspoken, appropriate nod to President John F. Kennedy’s foundational role in the enterprise), Greene takes Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins from liftoff to post-splashdown ticker-tape parade. Side notes on some spreads and two pages of further facts with photographs at the end, all in smaller type, fill in select details about the mission and its historical context. The rhymed lines are fully cumulated only once, so there is some repetition but never enough to grow monotonous: “This is the Moon, a mysterious place, / a desolate land in the darkness of space, / far from Earth with oceans blue.” Also, the presentation of the text in just three or fewer lines per spread stretches out the narrative and gives Brundage latitude for both formal and informal group portraits of Apollo 11’s all-white crew, multiple glimpses of our planet and the moon at various heights, and, near the end, atmospheric (so to speak) views of the abandoned lander and boot prints in the lunar dust.

It’s not the most dramatic version, but it’s a visually effective and serviceable addition to the rapidly growing shelf of tributes to our space program’s high-water mark. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58536-412-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more