Richly illustrated and both poetically and informatively written.

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WHO WILL IT BE?

HOW EVOLUTION CONNECTS US ALL

The mystery of evolution is presented in this Italian import.

Constructed essentially in two parts, this richly illustrated picture book begins with a spare, poetic portrayal of the development of a vertebrate embryo from conception to birth. The text gracefully and sure-handedly leads readers to the startling fact that developing vertebrate embryos, whether fish, toad, snake, duck, fox, or human, all look alike, and for a time, it is impossible to tell what—or who—the embryo will become. This fascinating fact, presented artistically and subtly in the first part of the book, raises a desire for more information—which is obligingly supplied by the second part of the story. Here, the text leaves behind spare poetry and turns to more fact-filled information. A key evolutionary theory of Darwin’s—that all vertebrates are descended from a single ancestor and have evolved to adapt to survive particular climates—is presented in an easily understandable way while also underscoring the fascinating conclusion that all creatures are connected through evolution: a satisfying circling back to the earlier part of the book. Bossù’s illustrations both soothe and stimulate with colorful, soft-edged circles and amorphous shapes on pure-white backgrounds, imbuing richness and anticipation to the theme of evolution.

Richly illustrated and both poetically and informatively written. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7331212-0-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Blue Dot Kids Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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

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A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.

WOLF PUPS JOIN THE PACK

From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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