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Irresistible science.

Why is it that some animals eat poop but we find it gross?

Using a variety of examples, the author illustrates that coprophagy, the consumption of feces, is not uncommon among animals—and that poop eaters have good reasons for this seemingly disgusting habit. The main narrative is simple enough for fledgling readers, while explanatory text boxes on each spread add more specific information for more advanced readers. Animals eat, or at least engage with, feces to strengthen their eggs, to clean their babies’ nests, to encourage their young to pee and poop themselves, or even as part of their digestive process. For dung beetles, it’s their diet, and for our own pets…who knows? Maybe they just like the taste! Cheerful cartoon animals slurp puddles of poop, carry fecal sacks (depicted as white tied bundles), lick their babies’ backsides, and seem to enjoy a variety of poop pellets. Stylized humans with varying skin tones and hair colors, however, turn up their noses no matter how it’s served. We don’t eat poop because our bodies don’t need it; indeed, it might make us sick. Levine knows how to grab young readers’ attention and explain science topics simply but effectively. And while Weiser’s illustrations are entertaining, they’re also enlightening—her digestive system diagrams are particularly edifying. There’s even more information about the subject in the backmatter, pictures for aspiring “poop detectives,” and plenty of poopy words.

Irresistible science. (further reading) (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 9781728457963

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40.

From two Nobel Peace Prize winners, an invitation to look past sadness and loneliness to the joy that surrounds us.

Bobbing in the wake of 2016’s heavyweight Book of Joy (2016), this brief but buoyant address to young readers offers an earnest insight: “If you just focus on the thing that is making / you sad, then the sadness is all you see. / But if you look around, you will / see that joy is everywhere.” López expands the simply delivered proposal in fresh and lyrical ways—beginning with paired scenes of the authors as solitary children growing up in very different circumstances on (as they put it) “opposite sides of the world,” then meeting as young friends bonded by streams of rainbow bunting and going on to share their exuberantly hued joy with a group of dancers diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and locale while urging readers to do the same. Though on the whole this comes off as a bit bland (the banter and hilarity that characterized the authors’ recorded interchanges are absent here) and their advice just to look away from the sad things may seem facile in view of what too many children are inescapably faced with, still, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world more qualified to deliver such a message than these two. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48423-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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