tive but satisfying format: detailed case studies
showing how Seva has made profound differences in people’s lives, accompanied by
descriptions of services, interventions, and immediate and long-term benefits. These affecting
accounts create immediacy and relevancy for
young readers and feed directly into the final
chapter, an appeal to get involved through
fund-raising and advocacy. Full-color photos
appear on every page and help convey the need
for and success of this humanitarian program.
Contrast with Sandra Markle’s Lost Sight: True
Survival Stories (2010), an account of cutting-edge sight-saving breakthroughs, to emphasize
the crucial need for basic vision health care
around the world. —Kathleen McBroom
So, You Want to Work with the Ancient
and Recent Dead? Unearthing Careers
from Paleontology to Forensic Science.
By J. M. Bedell.
2015. 256p. illus. Aladdin, paper, $19.99
(9781582705453); e-book (9781481438469). 331.702.
The latest in the Be What You Want series
takes the mystique out of jobs relating to
mortuary science and forensics. Bedell asserts
that these jobs, rather than being reserved for
people who are fascinated with blood and
gore, are actually perfect for those who love
to help others, make scientific discoveries, and
study the way that people in the past lived.
The focus is truly interdisciplinary, exploring
careers in both the sciences, social services,
and humanities. Cutting-edge technology
careers involving advanced techniques in cryonics are described alongside the jobs of those
who explore cultural and historical differences
in the ways groups of people deal with death.
Interviews with real working professionals
discuss job conditions and educational requirements, while activities that introduce
readers to methodologies in certain jobs are
both fun and easily executed. A detailed list
of additional resources is included in the end
matter, arranged by topic. Using humor and
straightforward descriptions, Bedell manages
to make jobs dealing with death seem like perfectly natural career choices. —Erin Anderson
Welcome to New Zealand: A Nature
By Sandra Morris. Illus. by the author.
2015. 48p. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763674779). 577.
In this nature journal, Morris, a native of
New Zealand, combines her love for her coun-
try’s natural world with suggestions for young
naturalists to create their own journals. Just
as her journal reflects New Zealand’s flora
and fauna, children are encouraged to record
the native plants and animals encountered in
their own lives. In the introduction, Morris
identifies parts of a bird and a flower, sketches
important materials and tools for nature ob-
servers, and illustrates the creative use of fonts
and color. Next she takes readers on a visual
and textual trip through a garden, a beach, the
sky, and more—each described and sketched
or painted in delicate detail. Text boxes “taped”
to the page offer tips, such as how to arrange
and sketch seed pods or do leaf rubbings. The
New Zealand focus could limit appeal, but the
sound journaling principles have a universal
quality. As much an exercise in artistic expres-
sion as naturalistic observation, Morris’ lovely
guide encourages kids to explore and appreci-
ate the world around them. —J. B. Petty
By Martin Jenkins. Illus. by Tim
Feb. 2016. 32p. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763681005).
597.89. K–Gr. 3.
This informational picture book features
an assortment of unusual frogs indigenous
to Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. Distinct among Jenkins’ curious list of
amphibians are the world’s largest (Goliath)
and smallest (from Papua New Guinea), a
pointy-nose variety (Darwin’s frog) that carries tadpoles in a pouch located in its throat,
a flying frog that floats in the air as it jumps
from tree to tree, and a hairy frog that “doesn’t
have any real hair.” Yet out of the whole frog
collection, Jenkins shares that his favorite is
“the medium-size, greeny-brown one that sits
on a lily pad” in his backyard pond. Unique
to Jenkins and Hopgood’s collaboration is
the book’s design. Wonderfully sprinkled
throughout, Hopgood’s vibrant, eye-catching
mixed-media renditions of frogs in mottled,
earthy hues aptly complement Jenkins’ accompanying narrative. Ideal for a wide range
of early elementary students, the simple
sentences appear in large fonts for younger
readers, while smaller fonts contain additional
amphibian facts for the older sector. Includes
a kid-friendly index and great websites for further research. —Anita Lock
Glow: Animals with Their Own Night-Lights.
By W. H. Beck.
Jan. 2016. 32p. illus. HMH, $17.99 (9780544416666).
572. K–Gr. 2.
This introduction to bioluminescence for
young readers takes a highly visual look at a
scientific phenomenon and its uses. After a
brief sampling of animals that glow (“Some
glow on land”; “Some glow in the air”), this
slim volume turns to the part of the planet
that boasts the most bioluminescent animals:
deep underwater. Animals glow for many
reasons, Beck asserts—to attract prey, to communicate, to repel predators—but many of
those reasons still remain a mystery to scientists. This overview is an effective jumping-off
point for younger readers; for those interested in learning more, extensive back matter
provides more detailed information on the
animals discussed, as well as a bibliography.
But aspiring scientists and casual observers
alike will be attracted to the layout of this
volume: photographs of the various glowing
creatures are suspended on a black back-
ground, creating a stark, eerie effect that will
entrance readers as much as the content itself.
Pink Is for Blobfish: Discovering the
World’s Perfectly Pink Animals.
By Jess Keating. Illus. by David
Feb. 2016. 48p. Knopf, $16.99 (9780553512274).
591.47. K–Gr. 3.
Rather than focusing on a region or behavior, this book of weird creatures is uniquely
organized by color. And not just any color, but
“fluffy, sparkly, princessy” pink, and if you are
anticipating cute and cuddly, you are way off
the mark. Nearly all the rosy animals collected
here are bizarre, from the ugly, flesh-colored
blobfish and the bristly hairy squat lobster to
the delicate pink fairy armadillo, which resembles a long toenail atop a feather duster.
The roseate spoonbill, Amazon river dolphin,
and pink sea star are the most recognizable of
the bunch, but they are quickly overshadowed
by the likes of the orchid mantis and Hopkins’
rose nudibranch. Each two-page spread pairs
a full-color, close-up photo of the creature
with an approachable paragraph describing
some of its key features, a fascinating fact
(“Antilles pinktoe spiderlings are bright blue
when they hatch”), and an at-a-glance rundown of basic facts. The comical tone makes
this particularly inviting, and DeGrand’s cartoonish illustrations only add to the fun. A
playful introduction to the kookier corners of
the animal kingdom. —Sarah Hunter
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie
Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor.
By Robert Burleigh. Illus. by Raúl Colón.
Jan. 2016. 40p. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, $17.99
(9781481416009). 526.092. Gr. 1–3.
Though her discoveries were pivotal to
the theory of plate tectonics, geologist and
cartographer Marie Tharp is still relatively
unknown. In this picture-book biography,
Burleigh presents Tharp’s story in her own
enthusiastic, imagined voice. “Maps. I love
them!” she exclaims before describing her life
and accomplishments. In a conversational
tone, she discusses her curiosity, her struggles
to be accepted in the boys’-club atmosphere
of 1950s research labs, her dogged determination to work in science, her belief in her
sea-floor-mapping project, and her satisfaction at seeing her beautiful map gracing the
walls of schools and museums. Along the way,
she explains depth soundings, cartographic
concepts, and plate tectonics. Colón’s soft
colored-pencil illustrations are a wonderful
match for ocean scenes and frequent maps,
and a few helpful diagrams further illustrate
concepts. Though the lengthy text makes this
better suited to slightly older picture-book
readers, the appealing art and informative
glimpse into the life of a little-known scientist
make it very worthwhile. Further reading and
some provocative critical-thinking questions
close out the volume. —Sarah Hunter