Read aloud or alone, this will heighten anyone’s appreciation for “Nature…the ultimate artist.” (author’s note, further...

HIDDEN WILDLIFE

HOW ANIMALS HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT

Animals’ shapes, coloring, and behaviors allow them to conceal and reveal themselves.

Arnosky uses his considerable artistic talents to demonstrate how animal camouflage works using examples from across the animal kingdom and throughout the year. Acrylic paintings (including foldout spreads) and occasional pencil studies show animals in their natural habitats, where colors, patterns, and the play of light work to allow them to seem to vanish. He suggests looking at these paintings from across the room to see how a Florida panther can vanish in the grass or a moose into a forest. He uses familiar examples such as a spotted fawn on a forest floor or a female blackbird in the reeds as well as surprising ones: a bittern stretched tall like the grasses around it; a scorpion fish blending in color and texture with its perch on a mound of coral. He discusses the role of the countershading—dark above and light below—so often found in birds and marine animals. Pencil drawings show how some insect shapes mimic parts of plants and how a fawn’s spots will disappear over time. Loosely organized into chapters with short introductions, his examples are captioned with short explanatory paragraphs. Most come from his own observations and experiences over many years of exploring and researching the natural world.

Read aloud or alone, this will heighten anyone’s appreciation for “Nature…the ultimate artist.” (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2097-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SPACE AND OTHER GALACTIC FACTS!

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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