Zigzag itinerary notwithstanding, a brisk and inventive excursion.


From the All Aboard series

A lift-the-flap cruise past select highlights in the history of human communication, from cave paintings to talkies.

Squired by a pair of tour guides—one black and one white—readers board an unusually versatile ocean liner in 1927 for passage to 1799 Egypt for a look at the newly discovered Rosetta Stone. From there it’s on to visit 16th-century English graphite mines and learn about the invention of the pencil; 17th-century Strasbourg (then a free city of the Holy Roman Empire) to witness the birth of newspapers; then see both Napoleon’s “optical telegraph” and the better-known electrical sort in action; and get good looks at the births of airmail, radio, photography, and finally moving pictures. Along with sets of clues to a side mystery that are coded in various alphabets and ciphers, the multiple flaps incorporated into each big, bright painted scene conceal descriptions and diagrams of each invention, notes on related advances, historical anecdotes, and tributes to significant figures. Alert viewers will spot repeated text under one flap and (a classic error) wrong-way threads on the screw of the printing press. Also, TV doesn’t make the cut, nor do any developments after the arrival of talking pictures. Otherwise, the liner puts in at major ports of call while venturing into some less-well-known technological inlets.

Zigzag itinerary notwithstanding, a brisk and inventive excursion. (Informational novelty. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-225-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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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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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)



Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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