From the Save the... series

Not a front-runner in the herd, though worthy both of topic and cause.

Meet the largest living land animal and join efforts to keep it from going extinct.

“No one wants to live in a world without elephants,” Thomson justly writes, and if her tone is more casual than urgent—considering that African forest elephants, one of the three species, are already designated “critically endangered”—still she offers an array of engaging facts about their characteristics and behavior along with alarming ones about their declining populations. Though she acknowledges that elephants are killed for their ivory tusks and often mistreated in captivity, she gives more weight to positive observations about elephant social behavior in the wild and to supportive human interactions such as the work of researcher and conservationist Cynthia Moss or the way farmers (their location unspecified) have found a clever way to coexist nonviolently with foraging elephants by stringing beehives on fences to deter the animals from eating crops. Following a section of “Fun Facts” (“Elephants can only sweat on their toes”), the author closes with suggestions for proactive readers, ranging from generic strategies for reducing global warming and raising money for conservation efforts through bake sales to refusing to buy jewelry made with “new ivory” or patronize circuses or shows that use elephants. Her list of sources is long, if all secondary material, but her list of audience-appropriate further reading comprises a paltry four titles. A few small black-and-white photos offer no more than rare, dark breaks for the simply phrased narrative. An introduction from Clinton opens the book by encouraging readers that even small actions can help the environment. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not a front-runner in the herd, though worthy both of topic and cause. (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-40423-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

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 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021


From the Everything Awesome About… series

A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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