Cogent answerzz to a range of common puzzzlers.

READ REVIEW

WHY, FLY GUY?

ANSWERS TO KIDS' BIG QUESTIONS

From the Fly Guy series

Fly Guy and his human best bud, Buzz, present answers to over 50 science questions, including “Why are wheels round?” and “Why do my feet smell?”

The latter query actually kicks off the session, as the first section, “The Buzz on Buzz!” covers bodily functions and products with simple but frank answers. These are accompanied by commentary from the two hosts in cartoon panels and large (discreet) photos of relevant body parts and a diverse cast of children mugging cutely for the camera. Subsequent sections cover in the same ways select topics in animal behavior (such as how scientists use hovering drone “snotbots” to study whale respiration), in nature and space, and, in a final grab bag, questions ranging from why garbage smells to why the White House is white. Arnold warns against “germs” but never specifically explains what they are, and some of his instructions for the simple projects and activities inserted in each section are confusingly terse. Nevertheless, he does introduce several fundamental processes, such as photosynthesis, and, along with proper admissions that we don’t really understand why we yawn, hiccup, or sleep, offers accurate and enlightening explanations for why cats get stuck in trees (it has to do with the way their claws curve), why ears make earwax, and plenty of other head-scratchers.

Cogent answerzz to a range of common puzzzlers. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-05318-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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