KATYA'S BOOK OF MUSHROOMS

Field guide, fact book, and diary of a mushroom-hunter gather under one umbrella. A first-person narrative, peppered with anecdotes of mushroom-collecting trips in the wild, brings to light the strange and surprising fungi that grow in backyards, snowbanks, and water, even in cars and carpets. A mushroom fanatic since her childhood in Moscow, Arnold (Baba Yaga, 1993) includes the standards—basic types, folk names, and scientific labels, identification tips and charts, pests, and habitats, including the mushroom's unusual partnership with trees. While Arnold enthusiastically promotes mushroom hunting, she and Swope caution readers repeatedly about the dangers of poisonous varieties. The history and origin of mushrooms, as well as religious and therapeutic aspects, are touched on in miscellaneous captions. Kids will relish the blunt descriptions—the red juice tooth is likened to ``a piece of cheese with drops of blood''; the Latin name for puffball means ``wolf fart.'' Other mushroom oddities are also sure to engross. Alternating illustrative styles shift between humorous depictions of a puffball-stomping child or a truffle-hunting wild-eyed pig and the more delicate, sedate renderings of velvety mushroom varieties. From the animal-shaped fungi to the spore-printed endpapers, Arnold's lifelong passion for her subject will make mushroom fanciers out of even the mycologically reluctant. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8050-4136-2

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1997

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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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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