Fun and fundamental food facts.

READ REVIEW

NOW YOU KNOW WHAT YOU EAT

The sources and nutritional value of 17 commonly eaten foods are revealed along with additional nutritional information.

The author/illustrator uses her “somewhat overwhelming collection of terrific tiny toys” to great advantage, starting with the cover. Layout and design include pleasing, alternating blocks of color on each page, with bold headings naming the foods. A handful of mathematical symbols easily show that white chocolate consists of milk chocolate minus cocoa mass and that the flour ingredient in a pizza crust comes from wheat. There is a long but crystal-clear path leading to the creation of a peanut-butter–and-jelly sandwich, including the source of grape jelly’s pectin and how peanuts are roasted. In fact, the only confusing part of the book is the unnecessary page that instructs “How to read this book.” Simple explanations of such processes as cheese making and honey production include fascinating asides such as: “Honeybees visit 2,000,000 flowers to make one jar of honey.” The overall look is retro, but the content is decidedly contemporary. Care was taken to include diversity in the human dolls and in pointing out six animals, in addition to dairy cows, whose milk is used by human beings. The text is accessible and playful. The 17 highlighted food choices, as well as the brightly colored chart advising readers to eat from “five food groups at every meal,” will be tolerable to vegetarians but not vegans.

Fun and fundamental food facts. (index, charts, glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-21546-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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