A fun, educational science book that thoughtfully portrays kids of color engaging with and learning from nature and each...

I LOVE INSECTS

From the I Like To Read series

In her latest science-focused picture book, Rockwell offers perspectives from two kids with opposing opinions about insects.

A Black girl with long braids and glasses announces her love of insects while a boy of Asian descent, who drops his sandwich running from two houseflies, says he hates them. Throughout this picture book, which teems with color and motion, the girl focuses on the positives, like their beauty, role as pollinators, and benefits to the soil, as the boy highlights the negatives, like their penchant for stinging, the ugliness of insects like fleas, and the damage some such as aphids do to plants. Readers can decide for themselves whether the two protagonists find some points of agreement. The final double-page spread illustrates all of the insects that appear in the book and invites readers to revisit earlier pages to find them, including butterflies, beetles, bees, a mosquito, a cricket, and more. This informational early reader employs a controlled vocabulary that intentionally repeats words and phrases to facilitate independent reading. Many recognizable insects appear in the book, like the field cricket and the bumblebee, but Rockwell also includes some, such as the little wood satyr butterfly and the cucumber beetle, that will pique curiosity and encourage budding entomologists to explore further to learn about bugs they’ve never met.

A fun, educational science book that thoughtfully portrays kids of color engaging with and learning from nature and each other. (Informational early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4759-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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A simple but effective look at a keystone species.

IF YOU TAKE AWAY THE OTTER

Sea otters are the key to healthy kelp forests on the Pacific coast of North America.

There have been several recent titles for older readers about the critical role sea otters play in the coastal Pacific ecosystem. This grand, green version presents it to even younger readers and listeners, using a two-level text and vivid illustrations. Biologist Buhrman-Deever opens as if she were telling a fairy tale: “On the Pacific coast of North America, where the ocean meets the shore, there are forests that have no trees.” The treelike forms are kelp, home to numerous creatures. Two spreads show this lush underwater jungle before its king, the sea otter, is introduced. A delicate balance allows this system to flourish, but there was a time that hunting upset this balance. The writer is careful to blame not the Indigenous peoples who had always hunted the area, but “new people.” In smaller print she explains that Russian explorations spurred the development of an international fur trade. Trueman paints the scene, concentrating on an otter family threatened by formidable harpoons from an abstractly rendered person in a small boat, with a sailing ship in the distance. “People do not always understand at first the changes they cause when they take too much.” Sea urchins take over; a page turn reveals a barren landscape. Happily, the story ends well when hunting stops and the otters return…and with them, the kelp forests.

A simple but effective look at a keystone species. (further information, select bibliography, additional resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8934-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.

WOLF PUPS JOIN THE PACK

From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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