An immersive tour of oceanic realms.



A globe-spanning gallery of marine life in panoramic settings ranging from the rocky nesting sites of seabirds to the depths of the Marianas Trench.

Hawkins and Letherland (Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures, 2017, etc.) include stops in Arctic and other northerly waters but largely focus on named locales in the Pacific and the Southern Hemisphere. Painted views of a sperm whale and a colossal squid going tooth to tentacle in the Ross Sea or a teeming shoal of hammerhead sharks swirling around a Cocos Island seamount supply visual drama while undulating lines of accompanying captions offer generous dollops of the verbal sort: “The lionfish gets a taste of its own medicine as the Bobbit worm injects a paralyzing toxin. Dinner is served.” Here brightly colored sea dragons and other tropical fish dart through equally picturesque reefs, there blue-footed boobies and crimson Sally Lightfoot crabs (both “nifty little movers”) strut their stuff ashore. As if there weren’t natural business enough to provide an engrossing turmoil, sharp-eyed viewers will spot goggles on a leatherback turtle, a Magellanic penguin poised on a diving board, and other tongue-in-cheek tweaks. Periodic mentions of the dangers of floating plastic and other pollution add an undercurrent that surfaces at the end in a spread titled “Oceans in Danger.” Otherwise, aside from the occasional boat, humans and their works are absent.

An immersive tour of oceanic realms. (index) (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4531-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Not much intellectual nourishment on offer, but a refreshing change of menu when the diet of conventional “true books”...


Spatters of blood and other body fluids serve as the chief attraction for this cursory look at our largest living lizard.

Printed in squint-worthy type, most of the handful of casually phrased facts and factoids chucked in at the bottom of each spread relate to eating habits: Komodo dragons are “fast and swift,” they “shred apart large prey,” and they most commonly die from cannibalism. Budding naturalists will also learn that Komodo dragons vomit when they need to make a quick exit, and they shake their victims hard enough to spray the surrounding landscape with voided dung or even inner organs. Sampar illustrates all of this behavior in loving, gory (thoroughly gory) detail—though in his cartoons, which take up the lion’s share of each spread, the Komodos stand on hind legs, dress in human clothes, and deliver wisecracks or remarks (“You couldn’t have done that in the garage, dear?”) placed in speech bubbles. A similarly anthropomorphized cast chows down through like-titled introductions to dinosaurs, hyenas and praying mantises.

Not much intellectual nourishment on offer, but a refreshing change of menu when the diet of conventional “true books” palls. Maybe not the best choice for pre-lunchtime reading, though. (Graphic nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55455-339-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Even ailurophobes can appreciate the fascinating information about felines, provided they can get through the confusing...



With a colorful layout and plentiful photographs, this nonfiction book for younger readers explores cats in history, from honored Egyptian animals through their wartime work to today’s lovable therapy cats.

Readers may be familiar with cat mummies and some of the various breeds, but MacLeod goes beyond common factoids to share more-surprising information: it was a crime to kill cats in ancient Egypt; much of Europe could have been spared the Black Death by cats; and stealthy felines detected hidden spy equipment during the Cold War. Each chapter begins with an imagined narrative—most are told from a cat’s perspective—that doesn’t match the straightforward nonfiction tone of the book. The chapters are related in short, choppy sections filled with many blurbs, sidebars, and callouts. While most of the side notes are interesting, in one busy chapter on lucky cats, they are actively disruptive and disorganized. Not all of the book’s featurettes are helpful, and some may actually confuse, as in an instance when not all cats pictured are described while some cats described are not pictured. Disappointingly, the book ends abruptly without a reflection on any of the incredible history or stories shared.

Even ailurophobes can appreciate the fascinating information about felines, provided they can get through the confusing layout and some unhelpful sidebars. (timeline, places to visit, sources, further reading, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-55451-994-1

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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