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

WHY CAN'T HORSES BURP?

CURIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE PETS

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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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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