Following series opener Beavers (2018), another field guide and another nuanced look at an underappreciated species.
In this installment, Poliquin explains how the wonders of evolution have led to the creation of the marvelous mole. À la the format established in Beavers, the narrator lists those superpowers that make the mole (named Rosalie) special. The list includes a plethora of fun reach words, including the “indefatigable paws of power,” “super-squidgibility,” and “double-thumb-digging dominance.” (Sure, “squidgibility” may be a new coinage, but it works well to describe how “Rosalie can fold herself in half to do a somersault through her hind legs,” effectively reversing in her tunnel. And it’s really fun to say.) Periodic humorous quizzes test readers’ knowledge (and ability to absorb new information). The cheeky tone works well overall, combining a bit of snark with a lot of information. Frith’s illustrations are similar to the previous book’s, with a white female narrator guiding readers. Sadly, Rosalie doesn’t have the same Hanna-Barbera cuteness of beavers Elmer and Irma, but Frith’s emphasis on realism over adorableness may be appreciated by scientifically minded readers. Backmatter includes a glossary (with sporadic phonetic spelling) and a brief bibliography, which includes nonfiction, fiction, and web links. The final pages hint at the next book in the series (and a trip to Africa).
No sophomore slump here. Pick up a copy. (Nonfiction. 8-12)