THUNDER BIRDS

A baleful osprey holding a rainbow trout in its talons glares at readers from the cover of this elegant introduction to predator birds, Arnosky’s latest exploration of the natural world. With oversized pages and four fold-outs showing accurately depicted, sometimes life-size images, the artist and famed wildlife watcher introduces eagles, hawks, vultures, owls, herons and pelicans. He begins, appropriately, with a bald eagle, shown at half its actual size, and a meticulous, full-sized drawing of an eagle foot. Inside the first gate-fold, the osprey, wing outstretched, shares space with comparable heads and silhouettes—a golden eagle, red-tailed hawk and peregrine falcon. With only a few paragraphs of text for each bird family and plenty of extended captions, the book economically yet thoroughly covers a great deal. Full-bleed paintings in acrylic and white chalk pencil include many close-ups, showing heads, eyes and beaks. Sketches show the separated tips of wing feathers and feathered feet that allow owls to fly silently, the heron’s forward-facing eyes and the pelican’s expanding throat pouch. In an afterword, the author reminds readers that these birds can be seen in American refuges and sanctuaries today and provides a list of some he and his wife have visited in their research. “Nature’s flying predators are magnificent creatures,” the author writes, and this is a deserved celebration. (bibliography, metric equivalents) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4027-5661-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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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 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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