A fun gift or reference book for the newer horse enthusiast.



Horse facts, basic and obscure, fill this oversized illustrated book.

Following Why Do Cats Meow? and Why Do Dogs Sniff Butts? (both 2020), this latest volume in a series on animals turns to horses of all kinds. Each spread focuses on one question, such as “How long have there been horses?”; “Why do horses wear shoes?”; and “Can a horse speak with its ears?” Short paragraphs responding with answers are spaced throughout each spread, around painted illustrations of horses against white backgrounds, in action scenes, or in portrait frames. Readers will learn the names of horses’ colors, the names of older and younger members of a herd, the relationships between humans and horses, the jobs horses do, which breeds are strongest, which are most easily trained, and, of course, why horses can’t burp, among other things. While the title implies that the book will be filled with quirky, unusual facts, most of the information is fairly basic—enlightening for beginner horse enthusiasts but less so for those who have already been delving into equine affairs. The writing style is plain, and bolded headings make browsing easy. The delicate watercolor illustrations are realistic enough to be informative but also playful in places, depicting horses with eyebrows to exaggerate their emotions in one spread, for instance. A number of famous horses from history are featured as well. Humans are pictured in a variety of skin tones.

A fun gift or reference book for the newer horse enthusiast. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65230-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.


From the Over and Under series

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 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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Well-intentioned but likely to overwhelm the intended readers and listeners.


The cadences of a familiar nursery rhyme introduce concerns about ocean garbage and what we, who made the mess, can do to help clean it up.

With the rhyme and meter of “The House That Jack Built,” Lord builds the problem of plastic waste in the oceans from the fish that must swim through it to a netted seal, a trapped turtle, and overflowing landfills before turning to remedies: cleaning beaches and bays, reducing waste, and protesting the use of fishing nets. Two pages of backmatter describe problems in more detail, while a third elaborates potential solutions; suggestions for individual action are provided as well. Blattman’s images begin with a racially diverse group of youngsters in a small boat in the center of a plastic trash gyre. The children, shown at different angles, bob spread by spread over trash-filled waters. To accompany the words, “Look at the mess that we made,” she adds a polluted city skyline and a container ship belching smoke to the scene. Finally, the dismayed young boaters reach a beach where a clean-up is in process. From their little skiff they help scoop up trash, rescue the turtle, and wave protest signs. The message is important, even vital in today’s world, but many caregivers and many environmentalists would eschew this doomful approach as a means of introducing environmental concerns to the early-elementary audience who might be drawn in by the nursery rhyme.

Well-intentioned but likely to overwhelm the intended readers and listeners. (map) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947277-14-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flashlight Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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