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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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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