A fascinating view of interdependency.

JUST YOU AND ME

REMARKABLE RELATIONSHIPS IN THE WILD

Nature’s symbiotic relationships are outlined in a poetic text featuring some unlikely animal and plant partnerships.

As an introduction, an adult and child (the former White, the latter with olive skin and black hair) plant a garden together. “Just you and me. / Just me and you. / We’re perfect pairs! / Here’s what we do….” An explanation of the term symbiosis is then provided, which leads into the various natural collaborations presented. Interestingly, the majority of the natural partnerships are those casual readers might consider improbable on the face of it. A Nile crocodile hosts an Egyptian plover (also known as the crocodile bird) in its mouth to help clean its teeth of food scraps, which become the bird’s meal. Zebras and ostriches herd together and rely on one another’s senses to warn of danger. More-well-known and perhaps obvious duos are included, such as the bee helping the flower spread its pollen or a sloth relying on the green algae that grows on its back to camouflage itself against predators within the greenery of the trees. Each team is allotted a double-page spread and introduced with a rhyming verse: “I wear your green among the trees. / You hide me well so no one sees / a hanging sloth that moves quite slow, / as predators lurk far below.” This is followed by a detailed explanation in a smaller font: “Algae make their home on sloth fur, turning it green in the process.” The crisp, unambiguous artwork reinforces the learning and understanding of these incredible partnerships that thrive in the natural world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A fascinating view of interdependency. (sources) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6098-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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.

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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