A cogent, jauntily illustrated primer.

READ REVIEW

TREES

From the Nature All Around series

“Do you like to climb trees, sit under their shady branches on a hot summer’s day, eat apples and peaches, read books or watch birds?”

The conversational—but never condescending—text goes on to say that a “yes” to any of those questions shows that trees are already an important part of the reader’s life. It then goes on to mention a few more of the roles trees play in the United States and Canada, which are “two of the most forested countries in the world,” and to invite readers to learn more in the following pages. From the colorful, stylized cover art that shows various trees in different seasons through the simple—but not oversimplified—explanations of photosynthesis, pollination, and more to the pages that offer silhouettes of trees and leaves alongside tips for “Beginner Tree-Watching,” this book gently funnels readers into deeper understanding and appreciation. The layout offers a variety of formats, interspersing large-lettered headings and subheadings with well-leaded, oversized text and bright watercolors that are easy to interpret. The page titled “Trees in Summer” is probably the wordiest; it is made nonthreatening through the smooth introduction of vocabulary and the easily understood diagram of a peeled-away tree trunk. Childlike images of animals, especially bees, will further charm readers into becoming conservationists by the time the text exhorts them to do so.

A cogent, jauntily illustrated primer. (glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77138-804-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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