A classic case study of crowd-sourced science in action.

THE MYSTERY OF THE MONARCHS

HOW KIDS, TEACHERS, AND BUTTERFLY FANS HELPED FRED AND NORAH URQUHART TRACK THE GREAT MONARCH MIGRATION

How the mysterious migration patterns of monarch butterflies were mapped from Canada to Mexico by scientists and volunteers.

“By the time he was eight, Fred Urquhart was a bug man.” Though Urquhart’s work has been well documented for young audiences, most recently in Meeg Pincus’ Winged Wonders (2020, illustrated by Yas Imamura), this brisk and lively account of his decadeslong search focuses on the role played by thousands of “amateur scientists,” particularly schoolchildren, of three countries in finally tracking the butterflies to their winter quarters in mountains west of Mexico City. Rosenstock fills in details about the monarch’s life cycle over several appendixes, noting both the worrisome fact that migratory populations have declined in numbers some 80% over the past 20 years and that we still don’t know just how the insects find their way over such a distance. Along with butterfly-strewn representations of Urquhart and his wife, Norah, both White, and groups of volunteers that are diverse in both race and age, Meza, who was born in Michoacán, Mexico, where the monarchs have special significance, especially to the Purépecha and Mazahua people, adds an afterword in which she describes visiting Michoacán and meeting the community that is collectively caring for butterflies through sanctuaries. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A classic case study of crowd-sourced science in action. (map, source list) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-984829-56-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal.

JUST LIKE JESSE OWENS

Before growing up to become a major figure in the civil rights movement, a boy finds a role model.

Buffing up a childhood tale told by her renowned father, Young Shelton describes how young Andrew saw scary men marching in his New Orleans neighborhood (“It sounded like they were yelling ‘Hi, Hitler!’ ”). In response to his questions, his father took him to see a newsreel of Jesse Owens (“a runner who looked like me”) triumphing in the 1936 Olympics. “Racism is a sickness,” his father tells him. “We’ve got to help folks like that.” How? “Well, you can start by just being the best person you can be,” his father replies. “It’s what you do that counts.” In James’ hazy chalk pastels, Andrew joins racially diverse playmates (including a White child with an Irish accent proudly displaying the nickel he got from his aunt as a bribe to stop playing with “those Colored boys”) in tag and other games, playing catch with his dad, sitting in the midst of a cheering crowd in the local theater’s segregated balcony, and finally visualizing himself pelting down a track alongside his new hero—“head up, back straight, eyes focused,” as a thematically repeated line has it, on the finish line. An afterword by Young Shelton explains that she retold this story, told to her many times growing up, drawing from conversations with Young and from her own research; family photos are also included. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal. (illustrator’s note) (Autobiographical picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-545-55465-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

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Tantalizing glimpses of hidden natural treasures, with breathtaking art.

CAVES

An invitation to share some of the world’s speleological wonders.

Lit by the flashlights of small visitors, huge, rugged, shadowy spaces beckon in Chock’s powerfully atmospheric illustrations as Beckerman’s accompanying mix of free-verse commentary and blocks of explanations in smaller type turn general impressions into specific sites and sights. Among the latter are the dazzling tangle of giant selenite crystals in Mexico’s Cueva de los Cristales, ancient cave paintings at Lascaux in France, an immense underwater cave system in Florida, and (for truly courageous adventurers) the “silently squirming ceiling” of glowworms in New Zealand’s Waitomo Caves. The author also pays particular tribute to the group of women who ventured into the constricted reaches (judged too narrow for men) of South Africa’s Rising Star cave system to uncover fossils of a new prehistoric cousin, Homo naledi. All around the world caves are waiting “for / wondering, / wandering / explorers / like you,” she concludes. “Do you dare?” For those who might, the book closes with lists of safety rules and recommended caving gear. Tiny spelunkers in the art are nearly all bundled up and facing away from viewers, but some at least are plainly children, and an observation that the floors of some lava tubes in Australia are flat enough for wheelchairs makes Beckerman’s invitation even more inclusive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Tantalizing glimpses of hidden natural treasures, with breathtaking art. (cave facts, author’s and illustrator’s notes, photos) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-72662-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

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