Collard, who introduced middle-grade readers to Mesozoic reptiles with Reign of the Sea Dragons (2008), turns his attention...

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SNEED B. COLLARD III'S MOST FUN BOOK EVER ABOUT LIZARDS

This lively, information-packed introduction to the world of lizards describes their surprising variety and life in the wild and offers cautions from a long-time reptile fan for those who want to keep lizards as pets.

Collard, who introduced middle-grade readers to Mesozoic reptiles with Reign of the Sea Dragons (2008), turns his attention here to modern-day lizards. After presenting an exemplar, “Joe Lizard,” a western fence lizard, he goes on to describe other well-known species, including Komodo dragons, Gila monsters, chameleons and iguanas, as well as some with unusual talents, including “religious lizards” that can walk on water. He covers eating and being eaten, the ways saurians keep warm and reproduce, and threats to their survival. His information is solid and clearly organized but conveyed in a relatively lengthy, chatty narrative whose occasional exaggerations may surprise some readers, who will need his warning, “Just kidding.” Sentences trail off into ellipses, encouraging readers to keep turning the pages. Most of the appealing and well-reproduced photographs were taken by the author. Close-ups show lizard characteristics (the break line for a new tail, a monitor’s forked tongue); longer shots show them in their natural habitat. Captions and sidebars add further information.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-324-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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It’s broader that it is deep, but it offers both a global view and art to pore over.

OCEAN

SECRETS OF THE DEEP

A dive into the ocean’s wonders, from edge to abyss.

De Amicis’ painted illustrations give this wide-angled survey a strong visual draw, as sea life floats on every page in grand displays of exotic shapes, gracefully angled fins and spikes, tendrils and tentacles, intricate patterns of dots and stripes. We really have just one ocean on this planet, Weiss points out, and we know less about it than we know about the moon or Mars—so she begins by pairing mermaids with manatees, the legendary kraken with the real giant squid, before going on to profile characteristic residents of each oceanic zone from sunlit surface to the dark and eerie world at the bottom of the deepest trenches. She then surveys local habitats from polar seas to salt marshes, glides past diverse topics from symbiosis and other relationships to sea creatures that change sexes, and, after glances at climate change, “plastic soup,” and other threats, closes with a set of basic principles of environmental care. Each marine creature on view is identified and accurately depicted, with occasional small silhouettes of humans or other animals to provide a sense of relative scale.

It’s broader that it is deep, but it offers both a global view and art to pore over. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9999680-7-6

Page Count: 72

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Excellent information presented in a frustrating and distracting jumble.

TOP DOGS

TRUE STORIES OF CANINES THAT MADE HISTORY

Dogs have played a role in human history for eons.

MacLeod provides coverage on eight doggy themes arranged chronologically: Seaman, the Newfoundland that accompanied Lewis and Clark; Pekinese dogs’ connection with Chinese royalty; dogs that served in World War I; Togo and Balto and their lifesaving trek across the Alaskan tundra with diphtheria antitoxin; the first American guide dog, Buddy; dogs that served in World War II; bomb-sniffing dogs, including Brandy, who found explosives on a jet in 1972; and search-and-rescue dogs, especially those that served on 9/11. A plethora of excellent photographs accompanies the engaging text. Unfortunately, a profusion of text boxes, sidebars, and other interruptions breaks up the stories. Page-sized featurettes on a yellow background headed “Dog Data” primarily focus on the history of dogs and their natural characteristics. Small pullouts entitled “Woof!” contain brief, miscellaneous tidbits that usually, but not always, relate to the topic at hand. The chapter on World War II dogs also includes: a section on modern war dogs; a Woof! on a border collie that scares birds away from a Michigan airport; boxes on both mythological Cerberus and a dog that defended a Persian city in 456 B.C.E.; and a World War I photo.

Excellent information presented in a frustrating and distracting jumble. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55451-907-1

Page Count: 98

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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