Pretty pictures, but they are forcibly joined to a labored description of this fundamental eco-concept.

WHAT EATS THAT?

PREDATORS, PREY, AND THE FOOD CHAIN

An introduction to how a food chain works, from a flower’s nectar to a fish sandwich.

Using the titular question as a refrain, Jacobson kicks off with the simplistic claim that “food chains start with the sun” (not all of them do, however). He then goes on to construct a notably strained 10-link sequence of consumption in which dragonflies “sometimes” eat butterflies and wolves “sometimes” eat raccoons. Raccoons wouldn’t normally eat snakes but are shoehorned in because they will try “just about anything,” and mosquitoes “sip” wolf blood but “prefer nectar.” Links between the narrative and Tekiela’s wildlife photographs are pretty weak too, as except for the children (two white, two of color) chowing down at the beginning and end, none of the creatures on display are actually eating or even (except for the butterflies) shown with their supposed food source. Moreover, there is no mention of microbial members in the examined chain, and the trio of Argiope (garden) spiders depicted could as likely be prey for dragonflies as predators. Closing notes on alternative food-chain segments and other things the nine featured wild creatures eat don’t do much to help clarify the basic idea.

Pretty pictures, but they are forcibly joined to a labored description of this fundamental eco-concept. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59193-749-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Adventure Publications

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.

OVER AND UNDER THE WAVES

From the Over and Under series

In a new entry in the Over and Under series, a paddleboarder glimpses humpback whales leaping, floats over a populous kelp forest, and explores life on a beach and in a tide pool.

In this tale inspired by Messner’s experiences in Monterey Bay in California, a young tan-skinned narrator, along with their light-skinned mom and tan-skinned dad, observes in quiet, lyrical language sights and sounds above and below the sea’s serene surface. Switching perspectives and angles of view and often leaving the family’s red paddleboards just tiny dots bobbing on distant swells, Neal’s broad seascapes depict in precise detail bat stars and anchovies, kelp bass, and sea otters going about their business amid rocky formations and the swaying fronds of kelp…and, further out, graceful moon jellies and—thrillingly—massive whales in open waters beneath gliding pelicans and other shorebirds. After returning to the beach at day’s end to search for shells and to spot anemones and decorator crabs, the child ends with nighttime dreams of stars in the sky meeting stars in the sea. Appended nature notes on kelp and 21 other types of sealife fill in details about patterns and relationships in this rich ecosystem. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79720-347-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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An amiable point-counterpoint for budding animal lovers/haters.

THE NOT BAD ANIMALS

Forty-two creatures of ill repute, from scorpions to hyenas, put on their best faces and protest that they’re just misunderstood.

In paired double-page spreads, Corrigan first presents for each animal the case for considering it scary or gross, then, with the page turn, allows it to contradict itself. “I’m creepy and I’m crawly,” a spider supposedly gloats. “I spin webs from my butt and leave them in places where I KNOW you’ll get stuck in them.” In the following spread, the spider points out that “Only half of my kind spin webs, and we really, REALLY don’t want you to get stuck in them!” Along with pointing to roles in the natural order and including many crowd-pleasing references to butts and poop, these counterarguments tend to run along the lines of the rat’s “I’m a fluffy little SWEETIE!” and the toad’s “I am a plump lump of CUTENESS!” Each testimonial is backed up by a box of background information baldly labeled “FACTS.” Readers may find the chorus of smiley faces and claims of adorability unconvincing, but they will at least come away with more nuanced impressions of each creepy-crawly. The humorous cartoon illustrations don’t measure up to the in-your-face photos of Seymour Simon’s classic Animals Nobody Loves (2001), but this gallery of beasties unfairly regarded as “icky and ewwy and downright gross” is considerably broader.

An amiable point-counterpoint for budding animal lovers/haters. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4748-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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