A solid worker for any library collection, but this wouldn’t make it as the queen


From the What on Earth? series

A green-themed instructive read, this will have nature enthusiasts buzzing.

The cover tagline is “Explore, create, and investigate!” and that’s what young environmentalists may be influenced to do after working with this hybrid biology-STEM-craft-trivia offering. It combines educational tips with bee-themed activities that vary from scientific experiments (one encourages kids to observe what colors bees like best) to such crafts as “Make a Fuzzy Bumble Bee.” Quigley attempts to capture everything bee-related in this offering, and that all-in approach may overwhelm casual readers. Bee-themed poetry and Thai honeybee folklore intermingle with housing suggestions for bumblebees and recipes for seed bombs. Librarians and educators may find the book most inspiring, as swarms of bee-themed lesson plans and bulletin boards for the pre-K crowd fly off the page. An index and glossary make up the backmatter, but a pronunciation guide and list of further readings and citations would have sweetened the text. Morgan’s digital illustrations are bright and attractive, but readers may wish there were labels identifying specific flower names and geographic locations. For example, the map of “Bees Around the World” is more of a geographic suggestion that actual cartography. Morgan’s attempts to hint at diversity among the human characters are fair but limited—in a book this colorful, having only two skin tones seems uninspired.

A solid worker for any library collection, but this wouldn’t make it as the queen . (Nonfiction. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68297-149-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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.


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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