A worthy successor to Mario Mariotti and Roberto Marchriori’s Hanimals (1988), with a low-key message about the importance...

HANDIMALS

ANIMALS IN ART AND NATURE

A gallery of animal portraits guaranteed to cause double takes, as they are all made up of painted human hands.

Incorporating nails, knuckles, and skin textures as well as paint, Daniele crafts animal heads of startling realism, from an alpaca and a polar bear that really look furry to a chameleon on which every tiny scale shimmers with nuanced colors. Some, such as the toucan and flamingo, are composed of single hands, but most use more, topping out at the six that are intricately folded together to create a mandarin duck. Several photos are digitally assembled (in more ways than one, in the case of the giant panda, which crouches in a thicket of fingers painted like bamboo), but the artist claims that none of the original paintings are retouched. Opposite each of the 16 close-ups, general descriptions of the animal and, often, its offspring are paired to an actual nature photo that shows off the artist’s attention to detail and color. Lopez adds further facts about the animals at the end, noting that nine are rated “vulnerable” or “endangered.” Daniele concludes with a punchline (“we must give animals a hand if they are to survive”) and a description of his working methods.

A worthy successor to Mario Mariotti and Roberto Marchriori’s Hanimals (1988), with a low-key message about the importance of animal conservation carried in a handful of nature notes. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62779-891-4

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF PLANET EARTH

Flaps, pull tabs, and pop-ups large and small enhance views of our planet’s inside, outside, atmosphere, biosphere, and geophysics.

It’s a hefty, high-speed tour through Earth’s features, climates, and natural resources, with compressed surveys of special topics on multileveled flaps and a spread on the history of life that is extended by a double-foldout wing. But even when teeming with small images of land forms, wildlife, or diverse groups of children and adults, Balicevic’s bright cartoon illustrations look relatively uncrowded. Although the quality of the paper engineering is uneven, the special effects add dramatic set pieces: Readers need to hold in place a humongous column of cumulonimbus clouds for it to reach its full extension; a volcano erupts in a gratifyingly large scale; and, on the plate-tectonics spread, a pull tab gives readers the opportunity to run the Indian Plate into the Eurasian one and see the Himalayas bulge up. A final spread showing resources, mostly renewable ones, being tapped ends with an appeal to protect “our only home.” All in all, it’s a likely alternative to Dougal Jerram’s Utterly Amazing Earth, illustrated by Dan Crisp and Molly Lattin (2017), being broader in scope and a bit more generous in its level of detail.

It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 979-1-02760-562-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more