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Another impressive outing by a popular pair.

Illustrations based on microscope images reveal a world of fantastic, sometimes frightening-looking creatures who share our world.

Jenkins’ familiar collage illustrations, set on stark backgrounds, seem ideally suited for display of the monsters in miniature described in this latest offering. From the alien-appearing thistle mantis to the roly-poly tardigrade, he gives readers multiple views of faces, feelers, teeth, and claws, all highly enlarged; the creature’s overall appearance; and its original size. There are worms that live inside us, mites that live on our outsides, insects that bite us, and intriguing creatures whose lives have nothing obvious to do with ours, including a marine scale worm that lives at a volcanic vent deep in the Pacific Ocean. Each is introduced with a lighthearted headline (“It’s a Sleepover!” for the house dust mites that live in pillows and bed linens). Most creatures get a single page; a few get a full double-page spread. The extent of enlargement is always noted; some actual sizes are too small to see. An illustrator’s note explains that the electron microscope images are black and white; the illustrator used color “to highlight the forms and details” of the microscopic creatures; but the dragon springtail’s blue body and orange spines are accurate. Alas, the book has no page numbers, but the thumbnail images accompanying further information on each critter in the backmatter correspond to the order in which the animals appear.

Another impressive outing by a popular pair. (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-30711-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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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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