Animals with fake eye spots, glowing lures, putrid flesh, and stinky glands will fascinate kids who love weird and wonderful...

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LOOK AT ME!

HOW TO ATTRACT ATTENTION IN THE ANIMAL WORLD

Many animals have creative and often startling ways of changing appearance, whether for attracting a mate, fending off predators, or luring prey.

Jenkins and Page write that “visual display—flashing a bright color, performing a dance, glowing in the dark, even blowing up like a balloon—is the most common way an animal says, ‘Look at me!’ ” Jenkins’ trademark vividly colored, collaged illustrations stand out strongly on white backgrounds, showing a large diversity of animals and birds in threatening or mating display, grouping them together by type of display. Children will be fascinated by their ingenuity: There’s the male hooded seal that inflates a red nasal sack; the magnificent frigatebird, which puffs up a bright red pouch on his throat to attract females; and the pufferfish and common toad, which both inflate their whole bodies to scare off predators. The bright colors of both a range of sea slugs, most poisonous, and poison dart frogs warn their enemies. Some of these animals are straight out of a horror movie, such as the sarcastic fringehead fish, which bares terrifying rows of teeth, and the mandrill, with its lurid grimace of rage. Concise descriptions on each page introduce the animals, and a glossary gives more detailed information about each species.

Animals with fake eye spots, glowing lures, putrid flesh, and stinky glands will fascinate kids who love weird and wonderful science. (Informational picture book. 6-12)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93553-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Pretty but insubstantial.

THE BIG BOOK OF BIRDS

Zommer surveys various bird species from around the world in this oversized (almost 14 inches tall tall) volume.

While exuberantly presented, the information is not uniformly expressed from bird to bird, which in the best cases will lead readers to seek out additional information and in the worst cases will lead to frustration. For example, on spreads that feature multiple species, the birds are not labeled. This happens again later when the author presents facts about eggs: Readers learn about camouflaged eggs, but the specific eggs are not identified, making further study extremely difficult. Other facts are misleading: A spread on “city birds” informs readers that “peregrine falcons nest on skyscrapers in New York City”—but they also nest in other large cities. In a sexist note, a peahen is identified as “unlucky” because she “has drab brown feathers” instead of flashy ones like the peacock’s. Illustrations are colorful and mostly identifiable but stylized; Zommer depicts his birds with both eyes visible at all times, even when the bird is in profile. The primary audience for the book appears to be British, as some spreads focus on European birds over their North American counterparts, such as the mute swan versus the trumpeter swan and the European robin versus the American robin. The backmatter, a seven-word glossary and an index, doesn’t provide readers with much support.

Pretty but insubstantial. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-500-65151-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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