IT'S SO AMAZING!

A BOOK ABOUT EGGS, SPERM, BIRTH, BABIES, AND FAMILIES

Harris and Emberley fill the gap between their picture book, Happy Birth Day (1996), and the instant-classic It’s Perfectly Normal (1994) with this equally sensitive, good-humored take on love and sex, puberty, genetics, pregnancy, and related topics, from sibling rivalry to HIV. Emberley supplies side (and snide) commentary from an eager bird and a reluctant bee to go along with cartoon depictions of anatomical details, human figures in a marvelous variety of ages, shapes, and skin colors, and a dramatic sequence covering fetal development from one month to nine in actual size. Never talking down to readers, Harris takes wide-angled views of sexual preferences, birth control, and the meaning of “family,” while making the terminology less forbidding by mixing it with familiar comparisons: “The epididymis is a long, twisty, coiled tube. It is shaped somewhat like a telephone receiver, but smaller.” The collaborators expertly walk the line between frankness and bluntness, keeping the actual sex act under the covers, and nimbly explaining how abuse differs from normal human contact and affection. Closing on a cheery note with a look at new baby customs in several parts of the world, this provides sensible, reassuring answers to readers’ questions and concerns, and interrupts the rain of information with occasional silliness. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7636-0051-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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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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