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A striking book that celebrates the astonishing diversity of the animal world.

Every animal may be unique, but some species are truly one of a kind.

A baker’s dozen of very different creatures star in this visually impressive and informative book. Each has no close relatives in the animal kingdom and is distinguished by unusual traits or behaviors, clearly and succinctly described here. Australia’s platypuses split off from other mammals 166 million years ago and are among the only mammals to lay eggs. The tuatara, found in New Zealand, is part of an order of reptiles that evolved 200 million years ago, when Earth consisted of the supercontinent Pangea. The aye-aye, a type of lemur that’s native to Madagascar, has incisors that never stop growing, while the leatherback sea turtle, which lives in oceans all over the world, is far larger than other turtles and can swim up to a mile below the surface. Finally, there’s Homo sapiens, distinguished by our big brains and capacity for language. (Chimps, orangutans, and gorillas, our closest living relatives, belong to a different scientific family.) Each entry also lists the creature’s height, weight, and lifespan and features a large, stunningly detailed, close-up color illustration. Excellent backmatter offers would-be scientists more information on classifying animals, along with a glossary, relevant websites, notes on researching and taxonomy, and a map with the 13 animals and more one of a kinds.

A striking book that celebrates the astonishing diversity of the animal world. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 18, 2024

ISBN: 9781662670077

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kane Press

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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From the What if You Had . . .? series

Another playful imagination-stretcher.

Markle invites children to picture themselves living in the homes of 11 wild animals.

As in previous entries in the series, McWilliam’s illustrations of a diverse cast of young people fancifully imitating wild creatures are paired with close-up photos of each animal in a like natural setting. The left side of one spread includes a photo of a black bear nestling in a cozy winter den, while the right side features an image of a human one cuddled up with a bear. On another spread, opposite a photo of honeybees tending to newly hatched offspring, a human “larva” lounges at ease in a honeycomb cell, game controller in hand, as insect attendants dish up goodies. A child with an eye patch reclines on an orb weaver spider’s web, while another wearing a head scarf constructs a castle in a subterranean chamber with help from mound-building termites. Markle adds simple remarks about each type of den, nest, or burrow and basic facts about its typical residents, then closes with a reassuring reminder to readers that they don’t have to live as animals do, because they will “always live where people live.” A select gallery of traditional homes, from igloo and yurt to mudhif, follows a final view of the young cast waving from a variety of differently styled windows.

Another playful imagination-stretcher. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781339049052

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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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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