This well-intentioned effort falls short.

BEA'S BEES

When Beatrix notices that bees have left their hollow-tree nest in her local park, she needs the town’s help to bring them back.

Bea walks to school through the park, where she discovers a nest of active bumblebees in a hollow oak tree. She is fascinated with the tiny creatures, and she visits the tree every day. But one day, the nest is silent; the bees are gone. She asks her teacher about it, but he doesn’t know why bees disappear. She notices the flowers around the oak tree have been cut down. She asks the school librarian, who helps her find books about bees. She learns all about bees—what they eat, how they pollinate, and what kinds of foods would stop growing without them—and that information is shared with readers. Bea makes a plan. In early spring, she plants wildflowers around the tree. She does her science report on bees, and she hands out seeds at school. Seedlings sprout all over town, and finally the bees return. The illustrations, which depict Bea as black, are colorful but largely redundant of the text. An endnote in small font and scientific language is appropriate for older readers, and the final page of labeled wildflowers is a lovely and useful finish. The story is paced well, and Bea is likable enough, but the book’s design lacks professional polish.

This well-intentioned effort falls short. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7643-5699-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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