A fascinating story that strikes just the right tone of education and fun.


From the Working With Scientists series

A dog trained to sniff out poop? How? (Or, perhaps more to the point, why?)

The first clue that this book will be fun as well as informational is the 3-D look of the brown typeface used for the title word Pooper. Sampson, a black Lab mix, has been trained by his scientist owner (co-author Ubigau) to sniff out the poop (scat) of other animals, for which he’s rewarded with a bit of ball play. One of the animals is the Pacific pocket mouse, thought to be extinct until its scat was discovered in 1993. Now on the endangered species list, the tiny mouse is clever at hiding, and collecting its poop (a great deal can be learned from poop) is a way for scientists to learn more about the species without resorting to traps—a win for both the species and science. Another win is that most pooper snooper dogs are rescues from shelters; their high-energy, ball-obsessive temperament—which can make them tough as family pets—makes them perfect for this job. An admirable amount of information is presented here: how a dog is trained to sniff out poop, the role of the Pacific pocket mouse in its environment, a Q&A with Sampson’s scientist owner, and a fun nose game readers can teach their own dogs. The copious full-color illustrations faithfully illustrate the narrative, visually bringing the story to life and depicting Ubigau with pale skin and long, blond hair.

A fascinating story that strikes just the right tone of education and fun. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64351-823-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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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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