Another cleareyed and engaging book by a master of the genre.

READ REVIEW

THE WOOLLY MONKEY MYSTERIES

THE QUEST TO SAVE A RAIN FOREST SPECIES

Markle introduces the woolly monkey, one of the largest monkeys in the rainforests of South America.

Using accessible language complemented by engaging photographs, the author describes the habitat, characteristics, importance, and scientific research related to this critically endangered primate. As they are considered a keystone species, the importance of learning more about them is critical to the survival of the rainforest. A clear, double-page diagram allowing readers to visualize the different layers of the rainforest sets the stage for understanding the woolly monkey’s habitat. There are two species: the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, which lives only in the cloud forests of Peru, and the lowland woolly monkey, which can be found in the rainforest areas of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Markle details the research undertaken by several scientists, in particular the use of camera traps set up in the forest canopy by the Tree Top Manú Project. Readers will thrill at the idea of scientists climbing up trees as high as a 14-story building. By scanning the QR codes scattered among the pages children can see and hear the monkeys as well as follow a scientist as she observes the monkeys. The book ends with a suggested activity for children to start them off as potential future scientists.

Another cleareyed and engaging book by a master of the genre. (author’s note, glossary, further reading) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5124-5868-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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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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