A deliciously hideous glimpse of what’s in store following the ongoing Anthropocene extinction.

READ REVIEW

BEYOND THE SIXTH EXTINCTION

A POST-APOCALYPTIC POP-UP

An oversized pop-up survey of mutated life forms in the 49th century’s heavily polluted, still-radioactive Cagoan District, the ruins of a fictional future Chicago.

Readers in 4847 may be pleased by this report that the bioremediation of the devastated district is proceeding apace thanks to a “robust ecosystem” of recently evolved creatures who concentrate heavy metals, dissolve concrete, metabolize methane, and even consume the polycarbonate plastics once used to make CDs. Twenty-first century readers, on the other hand, will be positively thrilled by the eight examples—from the fiercely predatory brownfield pigeon, which lives on oil-soaked wastelands and so has developed wing pouches to carry offspring, to a rex roach the size of a puppy—that rear up from alternate spreads as layered, intricately articulated, near (or even more than) life-size models sculpted in muted monochromes. Solano (Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon, 2017, etc.) complements Sheehy’s (Welcome to the Neighborwood, 2015, etc.) stylized monsters with more naturalistic painted portraits on each following spread and charts the exotic menagerie’s sometimes-complex interrelationships at the end. Along with introductory remarks, the author provides helpful field notes on each selected subject’s physical characteristics, enhanced resistance to radiation, and general behaviors. This imaginative work will both entertain readers and provoke their concern over the state of our environment.

A deliciously hideous glimpse of what’s in store following the ongoing Anthropocene extinction. (author’s note) (Pop-up science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8788-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead.

THE PERFECT HORSE

THE DARING RESCUE OF HORSES KIDNAPPED DURING WORLD WAR II

Letts adapts her bestselling 2016 work of the same title for young readers.

As World War II sweeps across Europe, the fates of several master horsemen become entwined. In Poland, Andrzej Kristalovich, head of the national stud farm, sees his life’s work disappear when Russian soldiers capture his horses. Nazi Germans, invading next, restore some of the animals in order to breed them for the Third Reich. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Olympic medalist Alois Podhajsky is desperately trying to care for the Lipizzan stallions at the famed Spanish Riding School even as the invading Germans capture the Lipizzan stud farms and move most of the horses to Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, at an American Army base in Kansas, Maj. Hank Reed is overseeing the cavalry’s transition from horses, no longer useful in warfare, to mechanized vehicles. These threads come together at the end of the war when Reed orchestrates a complex rescue of both sets of horses. This is not a particularly successful adaptation. It’s shorter than the original, but both the storyline and timeline are fragmented, making it difficult for the putative audience of 8- to 12-year-olds to follow, and extraneous details fail to advance the main narrative. Aside from a map and archival images (both not seen), there is no timeline or other visual aid to help organize the narrative. Characters are all white.

If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead. (author’s note, characters, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64474-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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THUNDER ON THE PLAINS

THE STORY OF THE AMERICAN BUFFALO

“In 1875 there were perhaps fifty million of them. Just twenty-five years later nearly every one of them was gone.” The author of many nonfiction books for young people (Bridges; Truck; Giants of the Highways, etc.) tells the story of the American bison, from prehistory, when Bison latifrons walked North America along with the dinosaurs, to the recent past when the Sioux and other plains Indians hunted the familiar bison. Robbins uses historic photographs, etchings, and paintings to show their sad history. To the Native Americans of the plains, the buffalo was central to their way of life. Arriving Europeans, however, hunted for sport, slaughtering thousands for their hides, or to clear the land for the railroad, or farmers. One telling photo shows a man atop a mountain of buffalo skulls. At the very last moment, enough individuals “came to their senses,” and worked to protect the remaining few. Thanks to their efforts, this animal is no longer endangered, but the author sounds a somber note as he concludes: “the millions are gone, and they will never come back.” A familiar story, well-told, and enhanced by the many well-chosen period photographs. (photo credits) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83025-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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