A quirky fact book sure to spark interest and further discovery.

ONLY IN AMERICA

THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL 50 STATES

From the The 50 States series

An abundance of unusual facts highlighting what makes each state weird and wonderful.

With all 50 of the states and the District of Columbia each getting a two-page spread, this book has room for some unusual and strange facts. Listed for each state are both its official and unofficial nicknames, often with a brief explanation behind their origins. Each page bristles with clumps of fun facts, including bizarre festivals, weird laws, world records, and more. Readers can learn about bathtub races in Iowa or the International Banana Museum in California. State favorites, like snacks, pizza toppings, desserts, etc., are listed as well. There is a fast facts section for each state: state capital, humorous place names, state slang, “fantastic foods” (not always phrased as locals would), and interesting inventions. Readers also learn what is pictured on the state quarter and a couple of books for ages 7 through 12 set in the state. Facts about Indigenous, African American, and immigrant connections are included for a few states. The inclusion of some of the names gathered under the rubric “Funny Place Names” could be considered culturally insensitive, as with Aiea, Hawaii, and Eek, Arkansas, which stem from Indigenous cultures. The highlight of the book is the vintage Americana-style graphics. The vibrant, bold colors are captivating, and many of the graphics add fun context to the text.

A quirky fact book sure to spark interest and further discovery. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7112-6284-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SPACE AND OTHER GALACTIC FACTS!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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