An effective presentation of science through poetry, art, and stellar bookmaking.

PREDATOR AND PREY

A CONVERSATION IN VERSE

Predator and prey face off in a battle of poems.

The dramatic encounters of predators and their prey, portrayed here in poetry and watercolor-and-gouache illustrations, do not always result in the death of the prey. Sometimes the stalked creatures fight back! Ground squirrels wave their tails, telling rattlesnakes the element of surprise has been lost. Tiger moths jam the big brown bats’ echolocation. A female Pennsylvania firefly acts the “femme fatale” when it tricks male big dipper fireflies and eats them—dinner instead of love! Such encounters are effectively depicted in verse and art, fine bookmaking complementing both. Nicely paced and rhythmic poetry, usually in the first person, colorfully brings to life each creature’s character and modus operandi. “I am patient. / I am primed. / I am coiled muscle, / expertly designed. / I am loaded spring / I am … / LIGHTNING!” says the Pacific rattlesnake. The rhythms evoke the march of the ant armies, the “vocal stealth” of chickadees, the boasting of the feisty crested anole lizard: “ ’Cuz I’m buff! / And I’m tough! / And you know I’ve got the stuff!” Text boxes supplement the poems and illustrations with information about the animals, and clever gatefolds in some spreads allow Kitchen’s sumptuous illustrations full command by tucking the text inside the folds.

An effective presentation of science through poetry, art, and stellar bookmaking. (bibliography) (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9533-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world.

DON'T LET THEM DISAPPEAR

An appeal to share concern for 12 familiar but threatened, endangered, or critically endangered animal species.

The subjects of Marino’s intimate, close-up portraits—fairly naturalistically rendered, though most are also smiling, glancing up at viewers through human eyes, and posed at rest with a cute youngling on lap or flank—steal the show. Still, Clinton’s accompanying tally of facts about each one’s habitat and daily routines, to which the title serves as an ongoing refrain, adds refreshingly unsentimental notes: “A single giraffe kick can kill a lion!”; “[S]hivers of whale sharks can sense a drop of blood if it’s in the water nearby, though they eat mainly plankton.” Along with tucking in collective nouns for each animal (some not likely to be found in major, or any, dictionaries: an “embarrassment” of giant pandas?), the author systematically cites geographical range, endangered status, and assumed reasons for that status, such as pollution, poaching, or environmental change. She also explains the specific meaning of “endangered” and some of its causes before closing with a set of doable activities (all uncontroversial aside from the suggestion to support and visit zoos) and a list of international animal days to celebrate.

A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51432-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF ANIMALS

An outsized overview of animal types, senses, and common characteristics liberally endowed with flaps, pull-tabs, and like furbelows.

Della Malva’s realistically drawn animals crowd sturdy leaves large enough to feature life-size (or nearly so) images of the folded wings of a sea gull and a macaw, and Baumann fills the gaps between with meaty descriptive comments. On every page elements that lift, unfold, pop up, or spin aren’t just slapped on, but actively contribute to the presentation. On a “Birth and Growing” spread, for instance, each of six eggs from ostrich to platypus is a flap with an embryo beneath; a spinner presents a slideshow of a swallowtail’s life cycle from egg to adult; and no fewer than three attached booklets expand on the general topic using other species. Subsequent spreads cover animal sight, hearing, body coverings, grasping and touch, locomotion, and—centering on a startling gander down the pop-up maw of a wolf—eating. The animals and relevant body parts are all clearly labeled, and the text is pitched to serve equally well both casual browsers (“Even fish pee!”) and young zoologists seriously interested in the difference between “scales” and “scutes” or curious about the range of insect-mouth shapes.

Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68464-281-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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