Excellent nonfiction that has the potential to make reluctant readers beginning bookworms. Not at all stinky! (Informational...

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STINKIEST!

20 SMELLY ANIMALS

From the Extreme Animals series

Striking pictures and intriguing facts are paired to entice beginning readers.

Page headings such as “Bird farts” and “Urrp!” and Jenkins’ accurate collage illustrations will draw even reluctant readers in. Information chosen for its “eww” effect will keep them reading despite the challenging vocabulary. Clean, white backgrounds, predictable layout, and varied typefaces help to organize the information. For example, how each critter qualifies as stinky is always discussed in the first paragraph, while callouts explain other behaviors or defense mechanisms. As in earlier series titles, a graphic on each spread indicates scale using either an adult human man or a human hand, while a world map shows habitat. The book concludes with a graphic that shows which critters use smell as a defense or to mark territory and which just live in stinky places. In the similarly formatted Speediest! (published simultaneously), that space is devoted to a chart showing each animal’s speed in miles and kilometers per hour. The aardvark’s 1/10 mph may seem unimpressive until readers see the explanation that this is how fast the animal can dig into earth. The quick movements of the mantis shrimp and the Panamanian termite are compared (quite favorably) to the blink of an eye. Backmatter in each volume includes a one-page glossary and a bibliography of more comprehensive nonfiction published between 1991 and 2015.

Excellent nonfiction that has the potential to make reluctant readers beginning bookworms. Not at all stinky! (Informational early reader. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-94478-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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