An effective presentation of science through poetry, art, and stellar bookmaking.

PREDATOR AND PREY

A CONVERSATION IN VERSE

Predator and prey face off in a battle of poems.

The dramatic encounters of predators and their prey, portrayed here in poetry and watercolor-and-gouache illustrations, do not always result in the death of the prey. Sometimes the stalked creatures fight back! Ground squirrels wave their tails, telling rattlesnakes the element of surprise has been lost. Tiger moths jam the big brown bats’ echolocation. A female Pennsylvania firefly acts the “femme fatale” when it tricks male big dipper fireflies and eats them—dinner instead of love! Such encounters are effectively depicted in verse and art, fine bookmaking complementing both. Nicely paced and rhythmic poetry, usually in the first person, colorfully brings to life each creature’s character and modus operandi. “I am patient. / I am primed. / I am coiled muscle, / expertly designed. / I am loaded spring / I am … / LIGHTNING!” says the Pacific rattlesnake. The rhythms evoke the march of the ant armies, the “vocal stealth” of chickadees, the boasting of the feisty crested anole lizard: “ ’Cuz I’m buff! / And I’m tough! / And you know I’ve got the stuff!” Text boxes supplement the poems and illustrations with information about the animals, and clever gatefolds in some spreads allow Kitchen’s sumptuous illustrations full command by tucking the text inside the folds.

An effective presentation of science through poetry, art, and stellar bookmaking. (bibliography) (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9533-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

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 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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An amiable point-counterpoint for budding animal lovers/haters.

THE NOT BAD ANIMALS

Forty-two creatures of ill repute, from scorpions to hyenas, put on their best faces and protest that they’re just misunderstood.

In paired double-page spreads, Corrigan first presents for each animal the case for considering it scary or gross, then, with the page turn, allows it to contradict itself. “I’m creepy and I’m crawly,” a spider supposedly gloats. “I spin webs from my butt and leave them in places where I KNOW you’ll get stuck in them.” In the following spread, the spider points out that “Only half of my kind spin webs, and we really, REALLY don’t want you to get stuck in them!” Along with pointing to roles in the natural order and including many crowd-pleasing references to butts and poop, these counterarguments tend to run along the lines of the rat’s “I’m a fluffy little SWEETIE!” and the toad’s “I am a plump lump of CUTENESS!” Each testimonial is backed up by a box of background information baldly labeled “FACTS.” Readers may find the chorus of smiley faces and claims of adorability unconvincing, but they will at least come away with more nuanced impressions of each creepy-crawly. The humorous cartoon illustrations don’t measure up to the in-your-face photos of Seymour Simon’s classic Animals Nobody Loves (2001), but this gallery of beasties unfairly regarded as “icky and ewwy and downright gross” is considerably broader.

An amiable point-counterpoint for budding animal lovers/haters. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4748-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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