Another splendid addition to a shelf filled with interesting invitations to the wonders of nature.

LOOK AT ME!

WILD ANIMAL SHOW-OFFS

Bold markings and showy displays make some animals stand out.

Arnosky’s characteristically detailed nature drawings and paintings illustrate an album of animal hams. Short chapters describe “skin spreaders” such as lizards and snakes, “noise makers” like bellowing alligators, “inflators” like the male magnificent frigatebird; deer, goats, and sheep with horns and antlers; fish with inviting or warning colors; and birds with distinctive plumage. Each chapter includes full-bleed, full-page acrylic paintings plus sidebar pencil drawings (some colored) to accompany the explanatory text. Interspersed are fold-out spreads of two and even four pages showing the fanned tails of a peacock and a turkey, fully developed antlers on an elk, and fancy plumes on a great egret. The author’s informative narrative is chatty and personal; his well-chosen examples include animals he’s observed in the wild near his homes in Vermont and Florida as well as animals from far-off places, such as the Australian frilled lizard. Some drawings have extra labels in script as if they were taken from his notebook. As with others in this series, like his most recent Hidden Wildlife (2017), this can be read aloud or alone, but it is designed for the same kind of careful, repeated attention the longtime naturalist pays to the outdoor world.

Another splendid addition to a shelf filled with interesting invitations to the wonders of nature. (author’s note, additional reading) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2809-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world.

DON'T LET THEM DISAPPEAR

An appeal to share concern for 12 familiar but threatened, endangered, or critically endangered animal species.

The subjects of Marino’s intimate, close-up portraits—fairly naturalistically rendered, though most are also smiling, glancing up at viewers through human eyes, and posed at rest with a cute youngling on lap or flank—steal the show. Still, Clinton’s accompanying tally of facts about each one’s habitat and daily routines, to which the title serves as an ongoing refrain, adds refreshingly unsentimental notes: “A single giraffe kick can kill a lion!”; “[S]hivers of whale sharks can sense a drop of blood if it’s in the water nearby, though they eat mainly plankton.” Along with tucking in collective nouns for each animal (some not likely to be found in major, or any, dictionaries: an “embarrassment” of giant pandas?), the author systematically cites geographical range, endangered status, and assumed reasons for that status, such as pollution, poaching, or environmental change. She also explains the specific meaning of “endangered” and some of its causes before closing with a set of doable activities (all uncontroversial aside from the suggestion to support and visit zoos) and a list of international animal days to celebrate.

A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51432-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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