CLEVER HANS

THE TRUE STORY OF THE COUNTING, ADDING, AND TIME-TELLING HORSE

An astonishing horse baffled both the public and the scientific community.

In 1904 Berlin, Wilhelm von Osten taught his horse, Clever Hans, how to count, discern colors, and perform other intellectual tasks. He then showcased Clever Hans’ talents to the masses, and people were astounded to see a horse that could seemingly tell time, add up sums, and count money! But not everyone believed the spectacle. Some thought there must be trickery involved. One scientist investigated independently, and the German government asked another to assemble a team of investigators. They decided it wasn’t a trick, but they still couldn’t understand the phenomenon. Then a scientist named Oskar Pfungst made an important discovery. What he realized about Clever Hans—who was certainly clever, just not quite in the way everyone thought—changed the scientific process forever. Kokias’ clear, accessible tone pairs well with Lowery’s cartoon style. The comically smiling horse invites readers in, and intermittent paneled frames help organize the flow of information and visually propel the storytelling arc. Von Osten, the investigators, and spectators present white. English translations of certain German words (“Zeitungen”—“Newspapers”) are also included, with playful arrows pointing readers to them. An author’s note further explains the “Clever Hans Effect” and how it changed science.

Clever, indeed. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-9 )

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51498-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF ANIMALS

An outsized overview of animal types, senses, and common characteristics liberally endowed with flaps, pull-tabs, and like furbelows.

Della Malva’s realistically drawn animals crowd sturdy leaves large enough to feature life-size (or nearly so) images of the folded wings of a sea gull and a macaw, and Baumann fills the gaps between with meaty descriptive comments. On every page elements that lift, unfold, pop up, or spin aren’t just slapped on, but actively contribute to the presentation. On a “Birth and Growing” spread, for instance, each of six eggs from ostrich to platypus is a flap with an embryo beneath; a spinner presents a slideshow of a swallowtail’s life cycle from egg to adult; and no fewer than three attached booklets expand on the general topic using other species. Subsequent spreads cover animal sight, hearing, body coverings, grasping and touch, locomotion, and—centering on a startling gander down the pop-up maw of a wolf—eating. The animals and relevant body parts are all clearly labeled, and the text is pitched to serve equally well both casual browsers (“Even fish pee!”) and young zoologists seriously interested in the difference between “scales” and “scutes” or curious about the range of insect-mouth shapes.

Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68464-281-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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