Ambitious in concept, pedestrian at best in execution.

READ REVIEW

WORLD OF FORESTS

Visits to 10 types of forest, with portraits of select native wildlife and audio soundscapes.

Though the lineup does include an unusual “Desert Forest” on Yemen’s Socotra Island and locales for the rest of the more-common woody habitats are likewise specified, Hunter’s generic, artificially populous panoramas are neither placed on a map nor presented in any particular order. His wildlife characters, six or seven per spread, pose naturalistically but are sometimes seen from distorted perspectives—a wood mouse in England’s deciduous New Forest looks, for instance, almost as big as the donkey—making it hard to compare relative sizes. Numbered, descriptive captions squeezed in among the figures highlight the animals’ distinctive calls or noises, snatches of which can also be heard on the enclosed sound chip. Pressing hard and repeatedly on a designated spot, one per spread, results in a uselessly brief audio sequence of fragmentary hoots, squeaks, snorts, chirps, and general rustling presented, supposedly, in left-to-right order. Oddly, several of the chosen animals, such as snowshoe hares, okapi, and blue-baboon spiders, do not vocalize and so are sonically represented (if at all) only by magnified leaf chewing or some similar contrivance. The sound chip features replaceable batteries but no on/off switch.

Ambitious in concept, pedestrian at best in execution. (Informational novelty. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-327-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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Convincing evidence that the boundaries between us and them aren’t all that sharp.

HUMANIMAL

INCREDIBLE WAYS ANIMALS ARE JUST LIKE US!

Eye-opening discoveries for readers who think only humans grieve, play, or admire themselves in mirrors.

Claiming the titular word (wrongly) as his own coinage, Lloyd develops the theme that many animals display behavior or characteristics once thought exclusively human, from living in cities (termites) to feeling emotions like love and grief (elephants, bonobos). The author extends commonly seen examples: Yes, as Jane Goodall has proven, chimps do use tools, but so do Australian black kites, which have been seen carrying burning sticks from fires to nearby grasslands to stir up prey. He also points to observations of bees communally deciding on where to establish a new hive; ravens repeatedly rolling down hills for, evidently, fun; and even slime molds showing a knack for constructing networks between food sources that rival for efficiency anything that civil engineers can concoct. In many reports he names animal researchers (though all but two of the 15 in his closing biographical gallery are white and European or American) and describes specific incidents or experiments. Ruffle adds big, boldly hued views of stylized but expressively posed, easily recognizable creatures against monochromatic or simplified natural backgrounds. The rare human figures are nearly all actual portraits.

Convincing evidence that the boundaries between us and them aren’t all that sharp. (index, selected scientific publications) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-912920-01-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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