A sobering message presented gloriously.

READ REVIEW

MANY

THE DIVERSITY OF LIFE ON EARTH

Writer and zoologist Davies celebrates the “big, beautiful, complicated pattern” that is life on Earth.

Starting with “one, two, three”—a roach, an observant child, and a flowering bush—the narrator then leaps to the concept of “MANY,” asking young readers and listeners to think about the many, many kinds of living things that inhabit our planet. The freckle-faced rosy-cheeked white girl who explored the world of microbes in Davies and Sutton’s Tiny Creatures (2014) returns to observe creatures large and small living in widely varied habitats. One striking double-page spread shows the rich diversity of a coral reef; the next depicts and labels 31 different species found in just the last 50 years. For the most part these folk-art–inspired, intricate watercolor paintings are placed on a white background that includes a relatively simple narrative for reading aloud and further detail in captions in a smaller, italicized font. After the display of abundance and a reminder that living things depend on each other in complicated ways, the author gently advises us that “human beings are destroying pieces of the pattern….” A pair of spreads show first a lushly populated rain forest and then the same area with some trees cut down and animals leaving; the third in the sequence shows a museum exhibit of extinct species. We can’t survive as one.

A sobering message presented gloriously. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9483-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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