Entertaining and informative.


Why do humans make blood, if not for thirsty vampires?

McAnulty teams up with illustrator Tenney to follow up her Brains! Not Just a Zombie Snack (2021) with a closer look at blood—specifically, human blood. Two movie-style vampires (pointy ears, widow’s peaks, and prominent canine teeth) engage in a funny yet edifying discussion about this essential liquid. The taller, older, purplish vampire, amusingly dressed in a pinstripe suit, really just wants to drink someone’s blood. They’ve walked from their spooky hilltop castle and bellied up to the bar at the “I Don’t Vant To Suck Your Blood Smoothie Shop,” having misread what’s on offer. To the older vampire’s dismay, the younger, shorter, rounder, blue-skinned one states that blood is more important to humans and belongs “in the cardiovascular systems” rather than in smoothie blenders. The little vampire clearly describes why blood is essential for human bodies; how it moves around the body via arteries, arterioles, and capillaries; what’s in it (white and red blood cells, plasma, and platelets); and what these components do (white blood cells fight disease). The tall vampire’s increasing disappointment is hilarious, but by the time the lively explanation is complete, they seem fairly sanguine about choosing a delicious, nonblood, chocolate milkshake. An author’s note emphasizes the importance of donating blood, and backmatter offers several intriguing facts about blood. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Entertaining and informative. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-30405-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.


Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.


Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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