It’s not hard to sympathize with the trolls—once one gets past their personal habits and dietary preferences, anyway.

SEVEN WAYS TO TRICK A TROLL

A fresh gathering of trollish tales and lore from a veteran storyteller and folklorist.

As in Lunge-Larsen’s The Troll with No Heart in His Body and Other Tales of Trolls from Norway, illustrated by Betsy Bowen (1999), the sources are Scandinavian and the trolls generally come out second best in each encounter. Each story highlights or incorporates a particular troll “weakness,” such as distractibility (Nils, a red-capped gnome, makes a “Narrow Escape” from two hungry trolls by announcing that he’s too dirty to eat and sending them off after soap) or vulnerability to sunlight (“The Boys Who Met Trolls in the Woods” steal the monsters’ single eyeball and walk off with buckets of treasure after tossing the eye up to catch a sunbeam). The author freely incorporates original and folkloric elements into the tales, relating them in a simple, forthright way that makes them as easy to tell aloud as to read. She closes with a clever suggestion that the remains of trolls can be seen in many mountains and rocky islands, if looked at in just the right way. Craggy, mossy, blunt-featured hulks reminiscent of Arthur Rackham’s confront much smaller, light-skinned young folk in Vick’s watercolor-style illustrations, adding both drama and a “Golden Age” flavor to the proceedings.

It’s not hard to sympathize with the trolls—once one gets past their personal habits and dietary preferences, anyway. (source notes) (Folk tales. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8166-9977-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A scrumptious concept but overcooked.

FOOD ATLAS

DISCOVER ALL THE DELICIOUS FOODS OF THE WORLD

Picture the endless variety of foods that make up the world’s menus.

Small, labeled images of various nations’ main food products, including grains, meats, fruits, fish, vegetables, and dairy products, are scattered over 41 country maps and nearby bodies of water. Due to lack of room or perhaps poor design, popular dishes are placed outside the country’s borders, often within the landmass of an adjoining or nearby country, providing very perplexing impressions. For example, the page for Argentina shows the food products (Pampas cattle, sweet potatoes, wheat, etc.) within the Argentine border and the popular dishes (such as the dessert dulce de leche and the “national dish” of asado, “flame-grilled meat”) outside the national border. The inclusion of nonfood marine animals such as whales and dolphins is both unfortunate and confusing. The book is organized by region, and several individual countries are featured in each section. European countries predominate in this Italian import. Minimal coverage is given to the African continent, but unusually, Madagascar is included. The book could be a visual feast, but due to the sheer amount of poorly presented graphic information, it ends up a jumble. The notions of “slow food and slow fish presidiums” are inadequately explained. There is no index and no references, highly inappropriate for this informational text. Readers can browse but cannot easily find information that they may want to revisit.

A scrumptious concept but overcooked. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77085-952-4

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher.

MICROBES

A playful introduction to bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa.

Readers are going to need a basic grounding in cytology from the start, as Gallagher drops such terms as “nucleus” and “organelles” into the discourse without defining them and rushes past plasmids without explaining what they are or do. Likewise, though she fits out all of the jelly-bean–like cells and microbes in her lighthearted illustrations with expressive faces—not to mention occasional limbs, fashion accessories, and hair—she rarely includes recognizable biological components. She’s not particularly systematic either, as she mentions four major components of the human immune system but goes on to describe only two. More usefully, along with frequent mentions of how ubiquitous microbes are, her main focus seems to be laying out microbial types and subtypes, from the five shape-related groups of bacteria to the even more ancient archaea (Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, and Korarchaeota), and describing their individual distinctions and how they reproduce. Polysyllabic as some of this content is, the breezy presentation should impart to general students, as well as budding microbiologists, a nodding acquaintance with our single-celled neighbors and residents.

Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63411-009-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thunderstone Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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