Inspiring fare for the next generation of world savers…and their younger sibs.


An international gallery of young eco-activists, assembled to demonstrate that it’s never too soon to get going.

Except for a group of unnamed Chinese children who set up an “ecological field” near their school to demonstrate water-conservation strategies, all of the entries here focus on the initiatives of specific individuals. These youngsters range from tree planters, like 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner of Germany and 12-year-old Adeline Tiffanie Suwana of Indonesia, to Brooklyn “Earth Saver Girl” Wright of Atlanta, Georgia, an African American child who dresses as a costumed superhero and created an eco-comic at age 7. (Greta Thunberg presumably is well known enough not to be included.) Each is shown hard at work, usually lecturing or leading racially diverse groups of recruits in planting, composting, picking up litter, or recycling. Lirius depicts South African Hunter Mitchell snuggling up to a baby rhino and New Yorker Jordan Salama (both appear White) handing a banana to an orangutan in the wild…experiences that most young audiences are unlikely to have. Still, along with depicting plenty of rather more feasible eco-activities, the illustrations are strewn with undulating lines of helpful descriptive notes and cogent warnings about the consequences of destructive practices, from air and water pollution to poaching. Kirby also lays out credibly doable suggestions at the end, plus a list of relevant, child-friendly websites. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80% of actual size.)

Inspiring fare for the next generation of world savers…and their younger sibs. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4914-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magic Cat

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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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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A quick flight but a blast from first to last.


From the Everything Awesome About… series

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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