SERGEANT RECKLESS

THE TRUE STORY OF THE LITTLE HORSE WHO BECAME A HERO

A warm human (and horse) interest story that feels fresh off a newsreel

U.S. Marines reluctantly adopt a small mare to carry ammunition in battle during the Korean War, believing she will be too weak for the job. They soon realize their mistake!

Digitally colored pencil drawings capture the spirited mare and her military world in a khaki-tinted palette, while the straightforward, informative text is presented framed by various relevant documents and objects, lending the art a collagelike feel. Nicknamed Reckless, the mare has a passion for food—she loves chocolate and Coke, regularly joins the men for scrambled eggs, and even nibbles on poker chips. But it’s Reckless’ hard work that truly makes her a beloved member of the team, and after learning to cope with the noise of battle, she carries ammunition to the men through shellfire and flares, saving lives and helping win a battle that changes the course of the war. The only nonhuman to be awarded military rank—she’s promoted to sergeant and receives two Purple Hearts—Reckless is eventually brought to the States through the efforts of the soldiers who loved her. This intriguing historical tale of an underdog highlights the connection between animals and humans, provides a view of the dangers of the battlefield, and has a subtle feminist slant.

A warm human (and horse) interest story that feels fresh off a newsreel . (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-229259-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

BUTT OR FACE?

A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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