Cogent answerzz to a range of common puzzzlers.

WHY, FLY GUY?

ANSWERS TO KIDS' BIG QUESTIONS

From the Fly Guy series

Fly Guy and his human best bud, Buzz, present answers to over 50 science questions, including “Why are wheels round?” and “Why do my feet smell?”

The latter query actually kicks off the session, as the first section, “The Buzz on Buzz!” covers bodily functions and products with simple but frank answers. These are accompanied by commentary from the two hosts in cartoon panels and large (discreet) photos of relevant body parts and a diverse cast of children mugging cutely for the camera. Subsequent sections cover in the same ways select topics in animal behavior (such as how scientists use hovering drone “snotbots” to study whale respiration), in nature and space, and, in a final grab bag, questions ranging from why garbage smells to why the White House is white. Arnold warns against “germs” but never specifically explains what they are, and some of his instructions for the simple projects and activities inserted in each section are confusingly terse. Nevertheless, he does introduce several fundamental processes, such as photosynthesis, and, along with proper admissions that we don’t really understand why we yawn, hiccup, or sleep, offers accurate and enlightening explanations for why cats get stuck in trees (it has to do with the way their claws curve), why ears make earwax, and plenty of other head-scratchers.

Cogent answerzz to a range of common puzzzlers. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-05318-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF PLANET EARTH

Flaps, pull tabs, and pop-ups large and small enhance views of our planet’s inside, outside, atmosphere, biosphere, and geophysics.

It’s a hefty, high-speed tour through Earth’s features, climates, and natural resources, with compressed surveys of special topics on multileveled flaps and a spread on the history of life that is extended by a double-foldout wing. But even when teeming with small images of land forms, wildlife, or diverse groups of children and adults, Balicevic’s bright cartoon illustrations look relatively uncrowded. Although the quality of the paper engineering is uneven, the special effects add dramatic set pieces: Readers need to hold in place a humongous column of cumulonimbus clouds for it to reach its full extension; a volcano erupts in a gratifyingly large scale; and, on the plate-tectonics spread, a pull tab gives readers the opportunity to run the Indian Plate into the Eurasian one and see the Himalayas bulge up. A final spread showing resources, mostly renewable ones, being tapped ends with an appeal to protect “our only home.” All in all, it’s a likely alternative to Dougal Jerram’s Utterly Amazing Earth, illustrated by Dan Crisp and Molly Lattin (2017), being broader in scope and a bit more generous in its level of detail.

It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 979-1-02760-562-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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