Best for browsers who like their facts fast.

ANIMALS THAT MAKE ME SAY WOW!

Cusick explores how gravity-defying flight, coiled and tubelike tongues, bite-proof armor and other surprising adaptations in animal bodies and behavior provide a competitive edge.

This presentation of amazing animal facts is loosely organized into three sections: defense, foraging and anatomy. There’s a short introduction for each section followed by a series of boxed explanations interspersed among a gallery of close-up photographs, mostly from the National Wildlife Federation archives. Some images are quite wonderful: a family of cygnets riding a swan’s back, a porcupine chewing on a branch, an unidentified moth with a coiled tongue. Others are really too small to see details well. Some images are clearly labeled with the creature’s name; others can be guessed from the nearby text, but some will be mysteries (perhaps better than the “great egret” caption for the snowy egret picture). Readers are asked some thought-provoking questions as well as offered cool facts. Scavenger-hunt challenges in the concluding section call for both inside and outside research. A companion volume, Animals That Make Me Say OUCH!, follows the same format, but its third section deals with adaptations for hostile environments. Both titles feature lively, colorful design.

Best for browsers who like their facts fast. (read more, glossary, acknowledgements, index) (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62354-041-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Imagine Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Pretty but insubstantial.

THE BIG BOOK OF BIRDS

Zommer surveys various bird species from around the world in this oversized (almost 14 inches tall tall) volume.

While exuberantly presented, the information is not uniformly expressed from bird to bird, which in the best cases will lead readers to seek out additional information and in the worst cases will lead to frustration. For example, on spreads that feature multiple species, the birds are not labeled. This happens again later when the author presents facts about eggs: Readers learn about camouflaged eggs, but the specific eggs are not identified, making further study extremely difficult. Other facts are misleading: A spread on “city birds” informs readers that “peregrine falcons nest on skyscrapers in New York City”—but they also nest in other large cities. In a sexist note, a peahen is identified as “unlucky” because she “has drab brown feathers” instead of flashy ones like the peacock’s. Illustrations are colorful and mostly identifiable but stylized; Zommer depicts his birds with both eyes visible at all times, even when the bird is in profile. The primary audience for the book appears to be British, as some spreads focus on European birds over their North American counterparts, such as the mute swan versus the trumpeter swan and the European robin versus the American robin. The backmatter, a seven-word glossary and an index, doesn’t provide readers with much support.

Pretty but insubstantial. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-500-65151-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more