THE FROG

Seldom has a common frog looked so regal, outside of a fairy tale, as in this gloriously illustrated life cycle. Describing the common European frog in rich detail, the author records how the frog stalks his first meal, a pink juicy worm, after the winter hibernation: “He bides his time, toes twitching. Then he pounces, seizing the wriggling prey in his wide mouth. He scrapes off the dirt with delicate fingers before gulping it down whole.” The frog finds other creatures to munch on the way to the pond, and narrowly misses becoming a meal for a hedgehog. At the pond, he mates, and then the text and illustrations describe the process by which the tiny jelly-like eggs hatch into tadpoles and develop into froglets and finally frogs. Kitchen's cutaway pond paintings are especially compelling as they show the frogs above and below the surface of the pond. Readers in the US, more familiar with the common green leopard frog, will find many similar elements in the life cycle of this golden bronze neighbor, Rana temporaria. Part of the Animal Lives series by Kingfisher, including The Rabbit (not reviewed). The Rabbit which focuses on a European rabbit, rather than the familiar cottontail of the US. These are handsome, informative, inexpensive titles with outstanding illustrations. (frog facts, Web sites and organizations for more information, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7534-5215-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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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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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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