Familiar premises make the natural history in this Czech import and its companion all the more digestible.

WHOSE HOME IS IT?

From the Tracks and Homes series

A snail searches for a proper place to spend the night.

In language a cut or two above the elemental tenor of the plotline, the small searcher—dubbed “our hero” or “our little hero”—first approaches a burrow inhabited by a badger who “doesn’t want to share his abode.” He moves on to a nest full of thrush eggs, an anthill that is plainly too crowded, a cave where bats “scream and listen to their echoes,” and several other unsuitable residences…before finally realizing that he’s been carrying a cozy personal “conch” all along. In the woodsy illustrations, multiple flaps cut into the sturdy, rounded-corner pages on every spread lift to reveal other animals in related sorts of holes, nests, and other natural homes. The co-published Whose Track Is It?features similar flaps that lift to reveal creatures including a goat with “skillful” legs, a toad who “walks very carefully and thoughtfully,” and “ungulates” with even-toed (cow) and odd-toed (horse) hooves. They have all left distinctive footprints for a lost roe deer fawn to follow. Nappie-clad naturalists may not have the easiest time with these, but their slightly older sibs will find the content as rewarding as it is challenging. Saldaña renders the animals and settings with appealing simplicity, and Janská’s leading questions add further incentive to pore over them.

Familiar premises make the natural history in this Czech import and its companion all the more digestible. (Informational novelty. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-80-00-06092-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Albatros Media

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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