“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 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.


In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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St. Patrick’s Day will never be the same; beware, though: leprechauns who aren’t caught often take revenge by making messes.


Devious young scientists, engineers, and crafters will be solidly occupied with the 16 traps, three snacks, and 10 leprechaun tricks that are described here.

Each project comes with a level of difficulty, leprechaun appeal meter, list of materials, its STEAM connection (in a separate box listing topics touched upon and extensions), and numbered steps. The STEAM connections vary widely. Too many of the early projects that involve a stick propping up a trap lid have the same STEAM connection. Later projects, including a Leprechaun Run and a Marshmallow Catapult that talk about potential and kinetic energy and a Marshmallow Bridge that is heavy on the engineering piece, have more solid STEAM connections. “Did You Know” featurettes offer fascinating facts: Ireland has more sheep than people, and leprechauns used to wear red, not green. Readers will know to call a grown-up when they see the words “adult supervision” underlined in the directions, which also include “messy alerts.” The artwork is a mix of photographs, line drawings, and cartoons. Only two completed projects are photographed; the rest are digital illustrations. While this allows kids scope for their imaginations, some may need more help with the steps than the cartoons provide (particularly with the catapult). Photos show an array of diverse children working on the projects, although the disembodied hand holding scissors shown frequently is always white.

St. Patrick’s Day will never be the same; beware, though: leprechauns who aren’t caught often take revenge by making messes. (Nonfiction. 4-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6388-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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