A small gem full of hope, determination, and wonder.

The author of The Soul of the Octopus returns with the story of the miraculous recovery of two abandoned baby hummingbirds.

When Brenda Sherburn, a volunteer hummingbird rehabilitator in California, received two orphaned birds, they were not much larger than bumblebees. Uncertain about how to proceed with their recovery, she contacted naturalist Montgomery to help. As the author explains, rehabilitating hummingbirds is difficult work. In addition to maintaining the temperature of their habitat and examining their bodies for injury and invasive insects, baby hummingbirds must be fed every 20 minutes using a tiny syringe. Furthermore, “because the food spoils easily, a fresh batch must be concocted several times a day.” The conditions under which the young are released into the wild are also fraught. Hummingbirds typically lay two eggs, which hatch two days apart. The timing difference can lead to a developmental lag in the youngest hatchling and offer additional challenges, which was the case in the recovery of this pair. With her characteristic compassion, Montgomery shows the patience and skill with which Sherburn nursed her charges back to health. She also discusses the extreme measures other rehabbers have taken to ensure the recovery of injured and orphaned hummingbirds. Montgomery packs a wealth of general information regarding hummingbirds into this slim volume, examining species differences, body mechanics, habitat range, food sources, migration patterns, and relevant mythology. As their attachment to the birds grew, Sherburn and Montgomery chose to break the unwritten rule of naming birds in the process of rehabilitation. Drawing on Aztec and Mayan mythology, they chose Maya and Zuni. Regarding the reason for writing this book, Montgomery explains that witnessing the recovery of these tiny creatures was a cherished gift. If humans, she notes, “could help transform these pathetically vulnerable infants to rulers of the sky, then perhaps our kind can heal our sweet, green, broken world.”

A small gem full of hope, determination, and wonder.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982176-08-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021


Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023


A straightforward, carefully detailed presentation of how ``fruit comes from flowers,'' from winter's snow-covered buds through pollination and growth to ripening and harvest. Like the text, the illustrations are admirably clear and attractive, including the larger-than-life depiction of the parts of the flower at different stages. An excellent contribution to the solidly useful ``Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science'' series. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-06-020055-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1991

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