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From the Survival of the Fittest series , Vol. 1

An epic clash, well worth the investment.

In a game show format, six animals pitch natural qualities or features that have inspired human technological innovations.

Shark Tank has nothing on this wild creature smackdown. The panel of judges is literally a tank of sharks, and the six contestants range from a peacock mantis shrimp with a super-fast punch and a shy gecko with nanohairs on its feet that can grip nearly any surface to a confident humpback whale sporting hydrodynamic bumps, or tubercles, on its fins. “Sponsored” by the growers of Leafy Green Solar Curtains (“The only curtains that store sunlight as energy…while they block your neighbors from seeing you play video games in your underwear!”), the contest ultimately awards one lucky winner a Best in Engineering Design. But Donnelly goes on to explain why, for instance, the whale’s lumpy tubercles inspired more aerodynamic fan blades and how the gecko’s toes have led to advances in spacecraft and to devices that allow humans to stick to glass walls. Along with leaving plenty of space for the variously timid or aggressive pitches and lucid anatomical descriptions, Saburi’s tidily drawn cartoon panels give both the banter and the presentations a properly rapid flow that adds to the fun and suspense. “Nature,” as the hermit crab host observes at the outset, “was the first inventor—so let’s see what we can learn!”

An epic clash, well worth the investment. (Graphic nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 23, 2024

ISBN: 9781250805317

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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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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What happens to the dogs when dogfighting rings are broken up and the trials are over? Typically, the dogs are put to sleep, thought to be too dangerous to re-enter society. Because of the wide publicity of the Michael Vick case, animal activists were able to work to rescue all but one of his dogs; this is the story of one that survived. The little black pit bull puppy, later named after World War II hero Audie Murphy, thrives in his foster home. Soon he goes to live with a family that wants to train him for agility competitions. Audie needs surgery on his bad knees though, so not only does he still need to learn how to be a safe and social dog, he also has to recover from an operation. Audie goes through Canine Good Citizen classes and does so well he eventually helps train other dogs. He also excels in his agility training once his knees have healed. Color photographs chronicling Audie’s journey are placed on vibrantly colored pages; Muñoz captures the dog’s personality in frame after frame. Patent's text is straightforward, expertly providing just the right level of background and choosing kid-friendly details to illustrate Audie's experiences. Ample backmatter provides further background and resources. Audie’s inspirational story is a case study in rehabilitation, one sure to appeal to animal loving children. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2272-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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