Tempting fare for young dino-devotees.

READ REVIEW

PLESIOSAUR

From the Ancient Animals series

A gallery of prehistoric marine reptiles, their prey, and their predators.

Aiming for newly independent readers, Thomson describes in short sentences and simple language how plesiosaurs—an order that included both long- and short-necked varieties—hunted, got about with their flippers (“Maybe it paddled like a duck. Maybe it glided like a sea turtle”), gave birth to live young, and succumbed at last to an extinction event 65 million years ago. She provides broader context with comments about general features common to land and marine reptiles alike and closes with summary facts about other marine reptiles of both the past and present. Details both tantalize (the “smooth stones” in a plesiosaur’s stomach “may have helped to crush food”) and enlighten through concrete example: “Some plesiosaurs were only a bit longer than a broomstick. Some could’ve stretched halfway across a basketball court.” Throughout, Thomson carefully makes sure to emphasize that there is much we still do not know. Plant juices up the presentation with dramatic (labeled) portraits of thrillingly toothy predators leaving trails of blood in the water as they eat and are eaten.

Tempting fare for young dino-devotees. (print, video, and web resource lists) (Informational easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-542-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece,...

HUMAN BODY

From the Scratch and Learn series

A very simple guide to (some) human anatomy, with scratch-off patches.

On sturdy board pages two cartoon children—one brown, one a sunburned pink—pose for cutaway views of select anatomical features. In most images certain parts, such as lungs and bladder on the “Organs” spread and both gluteus maximi on “Muscles,” are hidden beneath a black layer that can be removed with the flat end (or more slowly with the pointed one) of a wooden stylus housed in an attached bubble pack. With notable lack of consistency, the names of select organs or areas, with such child-centric additions as “A cut,” or “Poop,” are gathered in bulleted lists and/or placed as labels for arbitrarily chosen items in the pictures. It’s hard to envision younger readers getting more than momentary satisfaction from this, as they industriously scrape away and are invited to learn terms such as “Alveoli” and “Latissimus dorsi” that are, at best, minimally defined or described. Older ones in search of at least marginally systematic versions of the skeletal, sensory, nervous, and other (but not reproductive) systems will be even less satisfied. Even those alive to the extracurricular possibilities of a volume that contains, as one of the two warnings on the rear cover notes, a “functional sharp point,” will be disappointed.

There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece, preschool setting. (Informational novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-323-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world.

EXTREME SURVIVORS

From the American Museum of Natural History Easy Readers series

“Extreme” gets a broad definition (ticks?), but the first-rate photographs and easy-to-read commentary in this survey of animals adapted to harsh habitats will win over budding naturalists.

Sixteen creatures ranging from hot-springs bacteria and the tiny but nearly invulnerable water bear to sperm whales parade past, sandwiched between an introductory spread and a full gallery of thumbnails that works as a content review. The animals are presented in an ordered way that expedites comparisons and contrasts of body features or environments. The sharply reproduced individual stock photos were all taken in the wild and include a mix of close-up portraits, slightly longer shots that show surroundings and more distant eyewitness views. The Roops present concrete facts in simple language—“Penguins have feathers and thick fat to keep them warm”—and vary the structures of their two- to four-sentence passages so that there is never a trace of monotony. Like its co-published and equally inviting title, Melissa Stewart’s World’s Fastest Animals, this otherwise polished series entry closes with a marginally relevant small-type profile of a herpetologist at the American Museum of Natural History.

Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world. (Informational early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0631-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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