Fun, inspiring, and well researched.

ONE MILLION INSECTS

Nineteen chapters illustrated with colorful, mixed-media art use scientific classification to deliver facts about insects “creeping, crawling, fluttering, and scuttling in every corner of the world.”

The above verbs are in the introduction: a stark white, double-page spread that sports scores of highly varied insects illustrating those actions. The text boldly asserts that insects are both the most successful and the most important animals on Earth, with necessary contributions to nearly every ecosystem. The next chapter’s paragraphs clearly distinguish insects from other animals, including a sidebar explaining why such creatures as spiders and pill bugs are not insects. After another chapter discusses diversity within the insect class, each of the remaining chapters is devoted to facts about a few different insects found within one order. The short paragraphs have intriguing subheadings: “Bugs we eat”; “Life in a bee’s bottom”; “Living glue guns.” The writing style and curated content hold plenty of interest, making the abundant exclamation points unnecessary. Labeled art that is both stylized and anatomically correct—and that even has a somewhat humorous appeal—complements the conversational text. Excellent organization of material includes ample introduction to Linnaean classification in both text and glossary (under “order (scientific)”), allowing for easy browsing. The text includes reasons for endangerment when necessary and suggestions for helping. Kudos for explaining monarch and painted lady butterflies’ generational migrations as akin to a relay race.

Fun, inspiring, and well researched. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-913519-45-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Welbeck Children's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

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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