A big, breezy banquet of dino facts—and factoids.



A world tour of reconstructed prehistoric landscapes based on modern fossil discoveries.

Going continent by (modern) continent in a series of big, populous maps and full-spread scenes, Hawkins and Letherland feature 31 dinosaurs or prehistoric reptiles but add dozens of others—all identified, supplied with quick descriptive notes, and depicted in a simplified but reasonably realistic style. This adds up to a weighty bundle of names and facts, but the authors compensate by not taking their enterprise too seriously. Readers won’t soon forget, for instance, that the “massive droppings” of T. Rex “were as long as a human arm,” and sharp-eyed viewers will notice a Ceratosaurus carrying a butterfly net to bag prey, both a toothy T. Rex and a Giganotosaurus with napkins tied around their necks, and smaller hunters sporting the odd pith helmet or kerchief. Also, there is a certain cognitive dissonance between the writer’s grisly references to predators attacking a corpse in a “group rip with steak-knife teeth” or exclamations of “Crunch, crunch, shark for lunch!” and visuals in which predators and prey pose without making actual contact and there is no visible blood or gore. A catastrophic meteorite (with proper references to the contemporaneous volcanism) brings both the era and the tour to a close.

A big, breezy banquet of dino facts—and factoids. (index) (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-035-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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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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