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“Almost perfect predators” are made less fearsome through this pictorial introduction.

Experts at the visual display of information return with this splendid album that presents 42 shark species, described and portrayed in torn- and cut-paper collage illustrations. Jenkins and Page have organized their information thoughtfully, spread by spread. They begin with species variety (headed with the evocative collective noun “a shiver of sharks”) and end with a thought-provoking pairing: shark attacks and sharks in danger (mostly from humans). Along the way they cover general topics—size, child-bearing, diet, and feeding habits—before describing particular species. There is the great white shark, of course, and the gigantic whale shark, hammerheads and other sharks with odd shapes, sharks that glow in the dark, sharks that live in surprising places, shark ancestors, and record holders. Though two-dimensional, the artist’s sharks are surprisingly realistic in their features, coloration, and shading. All images are carefully labeled and shown with a human silhouette for scale. Set on a plain background, each is glossed with an accompanying informational paragraph printed in a friendly, faux handwritten typeface. Some spreads include range maps. There’s wonderful variety in these images. The basking shark, an enormous filter feeder, is shown with its giant mouth open wide. A biofluorescent chain catshark glows green on a black page. The multidimensional pattern of pointed shapes on the endpapers is also a nice touch. Best of all, page numbers make the index (itself information-packed) truly useful. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Masterful. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-328-56949-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude.

A deceptively simple, visually appealing, comprehensive explanation of volcanoes.

Gibbons packs an impressive number of facts into this browsable nonfiction picture book. The text begins with the awe of a volcanic eruption: “The ground begins to rumble…ash, hot lava and rock, and gases shoot up into the air.” Diagrams of the Earth’s structural layers—inner and outer core, mantle, and crust—undergird a discussion about why volcanoes occur. Simple maps of the Earth’s seven major tectonic plates show where volcanoes are likeliest to develop. Other spreads with bright, clearly labeled illustrations cover intriguing subtopics: four types of volcanoes and how they erupt; underwater volcanoes; well-known volcanoes and historic volcanic eruptions around the world; how to be safe in the vicinity of a volcano; and the work of scientists studying volcanoes and helping to predict eruptions. A page of eight facts about volcanoes wraps things up. The straightforward, concise prose will be easy for young readers to follow. As always, Gibbons manages to present a great deal of information in a compact form.

Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4569-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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