An immersive, exquisitely illustrated trip to the fungal kingdom.

FUNGARIUM

From the Welcome to the Museum series

Led by Gaya, a team of mycologists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, offers an irresistible, oversized introduction to fungi.

Dedicated to the “next generation of mycologists,” this well-designed handbook approximates a tour of a museum, or “fungarium,” complete with foil ticket for entry and four galleries—“Fungal Biology,” “Fungal Diversity,” “Fungal Interactions,” and “Fungi and Humans.” Stop-you-in-your-tracks biological illustrations colorfully depict spores, yeasts, molds, and mushrooms. Specific delights include a chanterelle, with its sunny yellow curves and false gills; a tendrilled jellyspot fungus; and a stark white, poisonous destroying angel. Even the monochromatic endpapers are frameworthy. Gaya and her co-authors allay mycophobia in young naturalists (“fungi…represent some of the world’s finest delicacies”) but, smartly, not entirely (“remember that some of them may kill you”). The book revels in and conveys the magic of fungi, which are not only necessary to make beer, bread, most cheeses, chocolate, and wine (more than enough reason to inspire fungiphilia), but are also key to the survival of 90% of plants as well as our own survival via penicillin and other medicines. Kid-pleasing macabre facts abound: The zombie ant fungus “grows in the body of the ant,” forcing the insect to disseminate its spores. The backmatter “library” (list of curators, index, additional resources) is helpful. Sadly, there is no glossary: While the prose is clear enough for older readers, this book relies heavily on Latin and scientific terms that aren’t always defined.

An immersive, exquisitely illustrated trip to the fungal kingdom. (Nonfiction. 8-adult)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1709-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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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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An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet.

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  • Caldecott Medal Winner

WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS

In this tribute to Native resilience, Indigenous author-and-illustrator team Lindstrom and Goade invite readers to stand up for environmental justice.

“Water is the first medicine,” a young, unnamed protagonist reflects as she wades into a river with her grandmother. “We come from water.” Stunning illustrations, rich in symbolism from the creators’ respective Ojibwe and Tlingit/Haida lineages, bring the dark-haired, brown-skinned child’s narrative to life as she recounts an Anishinaabe prophecy: One day, a “black snake” will terrorize her community and threaten water, animals, and land. “Now the black snake is here,” the narrator proclaims, connecting the legend to the present-day threat of oil pipelines being built on Native lands. Though its image is fearsome, younger audiences aren’t likely to be frightened due to Goade’s vibrant, uplifting focus on collective power. Awash in brilliant colors and atmospheric studies of light, the girl emphasizes the importance of protecting “those who cannot fight for themselves” and understanding that on Earth, “we are all related.” Themes of ancestry, community responsibility, and shared inheritance run throughout. Where the brave protagonist is depicted alongside her community, the illustrations feature people of all ages, skin tones, and clothing styles. Lindstrom’s powerful message includes non-Native and Native readers alike: “We are stewards of the Earth. We are water protectors.”

An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet. (author’s note, glossary, illustrator’s note, Water Protector pledge) (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20355-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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