A good book for browsing or for starting tree-related research.

READ REVIEW

TREES

A ROOTED HISTORY

This large (10.75 by 17.75 inches) Polish import has equally large illustrations, complementing facts about generic and specific trees’ lives, deaths, and after-death uses—and many more tree-related topics.

This is a book that encourages readers to flip through its pages; every double-page spread is chock-full of colorful, stylized, eye-catching art that takes up most of the space. The text, confined to one vertical margin per spread, is accessible if a bit prosaic (though occasionally florid)—and it covers a forest of categories. There are simplified explanations of how to distinguish a tree from other plants; photosynthesis; evolution; fossilization; how to fell a tree; uses by humans and animals; and more. Besides expected data about the world’s tallest and broadest trees, there is a fascinating timeline showing various points in human history during the life of CBR26, a giant sequoia cut down around 1900. Facts such as the existence of “living bridges” in India and rot-resistant pine in Norwegian churches motivate readers to seek more information elsewhere. There are some missed opportunities for exciting art, and it is puzzling why most, but not all, illustrations are carefully labeled. The retro style of the art spills into stereotypical renderings of people; the text, in kind, uses B.C. and A.D. and, in its section entitled “Trees in Religion,” describes the Quran as “the holy book of Islam”—but offers no description of “the Bible” and uses “myth” or “mythology” to describe non-Abrahamic cosmologies.

A good book for browsing or for starting tree-related research. (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3723-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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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