A feast for the eye, the inquisitive young mind, and the funny bone.

CRITTER CHAT

What if animals used social media? This title speculates on this question, offering readers punny posts, fun facts, and abundant animal antics!

Mosco has fashioned a tapestry of interesting tidbits and jokes about (and supposedly by) the critters themselves. The pages are a riot of color, with high-resolution photos of various creatures and funny profiles that include facts as well as mock messages from them. The male house mouse (with a microphone in his tiny paws) has posted a profile on a dating app, while the upside-down jellyfish of the Caribbean offers an explanation of its topsy-turvy life in a post on Dolphinstagram. There are several lively, lengthy text threads (hence the book’s title), like the one among the grizzly bear, gray wolf, elk, and American bison who commiserate about unexpected and unwelcome human visitors. Every animal has its own unique, illustrated story. For example, the zebra in Kenya is plagued by ticks; welcome relief comes from a flock of yellow-billed oxpeckers that land on its back and devour the pesky pests. A post with the hashtag #BFFS shows a banded mongoose who will helpfully eat bothersome ticks and bugs perched atop the back of a sleeping warthog. A male orchid bee gives Wild Thing Cologne only two stars on Llamazon, explaining that his own scent created from harvested plant chemicals works much better. This comprehensive and colorful compendium will delight young browsers.

A feast for the eye, the inquisitive young mind, and the funny bone. (index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4263-7170-7

Page Count: 216

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

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 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

FLASH FACTS

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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