Skips a few stops but should leave young tourists with a taste for further outings into their innards.


Even the broccoli and green peas sport happy smiles on their ways down the hatch in this effervescent tour of human body systems.

Veteran science writer Parker thoroughly digests the content of his many previous anatomical itineraries into a set of overviews. They begin with comments about body types and diversity, end with developmental snapshots from infant to pregnant mom, and in between look at how breathing, circulation, movement, digestion, and the (main) senses work, plus a plea for proper nutrition. But though he stirs mentions of many details into his smooth patter, he leaves a lot out of the picture: tendons, ligaments, cell biology, reproduction, hormones, immunity, and disease, for instance. He also tends to underestimate his audience, noting that we breathe “something called oxygen” and we smell “tiny specks of smell substances.” Similarly, Haslam’s bright and simple, high-energy, inside-and-outside cartoon body views keep the show rolling, but the large intestine fades away rather than ending in an anus, and the unlabeled tube below the bladder on the next spread runs disingenuously off the edge of the page. Still, attentive readers will get a gander at most of the main attractions and should do well on the two pop quizzes at the end and enjoy as a memento a dust jacket that unfolds into a colorful poster.

Skips a few stops but should leave young tourists with a taste for further outings into their innards. (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60992-827-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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A launch-pad fizzle.


Flaps and pull-tabs in assorted astro-scenes reveal several wonders of the universe as well as inside glimpses of observatories, rockets, a space suit, and the International Space Station.

Interactive features include a spinnable Milky Way, pop-up launches of Ariane and Soyuz rockets, a solar-system tour, visits to the surfaces of the moon and Mars, and cutaway views beneath long, thin flaps of an international array of launch vehicles. Despite these bells and whistles, this import is far from ready for liftoff. Not only has Antarctica somehow gone missing from the pop-up globe, but Baumann’s commentary (at least in Booker’s translation from the French original) shows more enthusiasm than strict attention to accuracy. Both Mercury and Venus are designated “hottest planet” (right answer: Venus); claims that there is no gravity in space and that black holes are a type of star are at best simplistic; and “we do not know what [other galaxies] actually look like” is nonsensical. Moreover, in a clumsy attempt to diversify the cast on a spread about astronaut training, Latyk gives an (evidently) Asian figure caricatured slit eyes and yellow skin.

A launch-pad fizzle. (Informational pop-up picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 979-1-02760-197-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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A floral fantasia for casual browsers as well as budding botanists.


Spirited illustrations brighten a large-format introduction to flowers and their pollinators.

Showing a less Eurocentric outlook than in his Big Book of Birds (2019), Zommer employs agile brushwork and a fondness for graceful lines and bright colors to bring to life bustling bouquets from a range of habitats, from rainforest to desert. Often switching from horizontal to vertical orientations, the topical spreads progress from overviews of major floral families and broad looks at plant anatomy and reproduction to close-ups of select flora—roses and tulips to Venus flytraps and stinking flowers. The book then closes with a shoutout to the conservators and other workers at Kew Gardens (this is a British import) and quick suggestions for young balcony or windowsill gardeners. In most of the low-angled scenes, fancifully drawn avian or insect pollinators with human eyes hover around all the large, luscious blooms, as do one- or two-sentence comments that generally add cogent observations or insights: “All parts of the deadly nightshade plant contain poison. It has been used to poison famous emperors, kings and warriors throughout history.” (Confusingly for the audience, the accurate but limited assertion that bees “often visit blue or purple flowers” appears to be contradicted by an adjacent view of several zeroing in on a yellow toadflax.) Human figures, or, in one scene, hands, are depicted in a variety of sizes, shapes, and skin colors.

A floral fantasia for casual browsers as well as budding botanists. (glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-500-65199-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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