tors at bay. The familiar Monarch, though, is
photographed from a distance: a swarm of the
orange-and-black insects are captured against
a blue sky. Examples of moths and butter-
flies in their caterpillar and metamorphosis
stages are readily available as well, while an
introduction provides additional background
information, as well as some resources for fur-
ther study. —Maggie Reagan
Bee: A Peek-Through Picture Book.
By Britta Teckentrup. Illus. by the
Jan. 2017. 32p. Doubleday, $14.99 (9781524715267).
595.7. PreS–Gr. 1.
A single honeybee sets out at dawn to do a
very special job: gather nectar. As she buzzes
from daisy to poppy to primrose, she trails
a cloud of golden pollen in her wake. Soon
Bee realizes there are too many flowers for
one small bee and calls on her hive mates to
help with the work of collecting nectar and
pollinating plants. By story’s end, readers
will learn that every plant and flower “was
given life by one small bee.” Though the meter of the rhyming couplets is often uneven,
the words themselves capture the essence of
Bee’s life and environment: “Bee travels on
from bloom to bloom, / Drawn in by their
sweet perfume.” Teckentrup’s richly textured
illustrations are abuzz with activity and utilize a series of telescoping die-cut hexagons
to draw the reader’s eye along Bee’s journey.
Ample opportunities can be found to linger
over the vibrant multimedia collages of meadows, woods, hedgerows, streams, and, most of
all, the flowers bursting from the pages. An
inviting introduction to the busy lives of honeybees. —Amina Chaudhri
Hatching Chicks in Room 6.
By Caroline Arnold.
Jan. 2017. 40p. illus. Charlesbridge, $16.99
(9781580897358). 636.507. K–Gr. 3.
Readers are in for a treat as they join Mrs.
Best and her kindergarten class for their egg-hatching project, aka the most adorable class
project ever. Mrs. Best has brought a variety of
chicken eggs—brown, white, speckled—from
her backyard coop to an incubator in her classroom in order to teach her students about how
chicks grow. The informative text is augmented by copious photo illustrations, including a
diagram of the different parts of an egg, a demonstration of candling (placing a fertilized egg
over a light to see inside it), and eventually the
fluffy chicks themselves. The book documents
how Mrs. Best’s diverse class counts down the
21 days until the eggs hatch, the hatching process, and the first month of the chicks’ lives,
detailing their care and growth, and nesting
quick facts in egg-shaped ovals throughout.
Readers will come away with a good under-
standing of chickens’ origins and will likely
want to rush off to hatch an egg of their own,
but Arnold wisely cautions that chickens do
not make good pets. —Julia Smith
The Polar Bear.
By Jenni Desmond. Illus. by the author.
2016. 48p. Enchanted Lion, $17.95 (9781592702008).
599.786. PreS–Gr. 3.
Using a format similar to that in The Blue
Whale (2015), Desmond adopts the conceit
of a story (“Once upon a time, a child took a
book from the shelf and started to read”) to
explain polar bear particulars. Listeners learn
about the habitats, physical features, sizes,
behaviors, food preferences, and life cycles
of this threatened species. The text successfully combines information with lyric prose
(“Winter temperatures are so low that breath
freezes instantly”), and gorgeous mixed-media illustrations depict these animals in
their natural environment, often accompanied by the red-crowned child who is reading
this story. The artwork uses some nonfiction
conventions (diagrams and captions within
the spreads) as well as some unusual perspectives (aerial and cutaway views) that
enhance the text. Meanwhile, the fictional
story framework makes the content more relatable to young readers. Report writers may
be disappointed by the lack of informational
text features and back matter, but those who
appreciate these vulnerable creatures will be
well pleased with this enlightening and beautiful offering. —Kay Weisman
The Secret Project.
By Jonah Winter. Illus. by Jeanette
Feb. 2017. 40p. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane, $17.99
(9781481469135); e-book, $17.99 (9781481469142).
355.8. Gr. 1–3.
Though it’s notorious now, the Manhattan Project was veiled in the deepest secrecy
while scientists researched and developed the
atomic bomb, and it’s that confidentiality
this somber picture book takes as its focus.
Nearby townspeople, even
Swimming with Sharks: The Daring
some of the laborers who
worked at the lab, had no
idea what was going on,
and the scientists working
on splitting the atom can
barely say their goals out
loud: “What they are try-
ing to invent is so secret,
Winter’s marvelous, flat vignette illustrations
show beautiful, detailed desert landscapes
in rich colors and residents merrily going
about their daily lives, but the scientists are
all rendered in shadowy grays and blacks,
sometimes only appearing as silhouettes. All
that changes, though, when the scientists,
looking utterly shocked, blow up the bomb:
a fiery mushroom cloud grows ever larger
over several pages, and the book ends jolt-
ingly with a spread of featureless black, before
a concluding author’s note offers additional
information about the bomb and its ultimate
effects. While it’s difficult to imagine this res-
onating with the typical picture-book reader,
the quiet—and then abruptly explosive—
tone is spot-on, cultivating both curiosity and
unease, as if this is a secret we’d rather not
know. Expect plenty of questions after shar-
ing this with children, though it’s likely that’s
precisely the point. —Sarah Hunter
Discoveries of Eugenie Clark.
By Heather Lang. Illus. by Jordi Solano.
Dec. 2016. 32p. Albert Whitman, $16.99
(9780807521878). 597. Gr. 1–3.
Eugenie Clark’s interest in sharks began early
in life, when regular visits to the New York
Aquarium led not to a fear of the giant fish
but a fascination. As a girl growing up in the
1930s, opportunities were slim for Genie; her
mother suggested she be a scientist’s secretary.
But as this picture-book biography attests, Genie embraced her passion, achieving a master’s
degree in zoology, working for an ichthyologist,
and eventually opening a laboratory where she
studied sharks in their natural habitat. Until
her death in 2015, she remained fully committed to the study of marine life and made
invaluable contributions regarding the biology
and reputation of sharks. Solano’s illustrations,
primarily in a watery blue-green palette,
mainly depict Genie’s explorations underwater, interspersed with notebook pages showing
occasional sketches and notes. The coverage is
fairly general, although an author’s note provides more in-depth information on Genie,
including a discussion of the discrimination
she faced as both a woman and a Japanese
American, as well as additional background information about sharks. —Maggie Reagan
Whose Poop Is That?
By Darrin Lunde. Illus. by Kelsey Oseid.
Jan. 2017. 32p. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (9781570917981).
591.5. PreS–Gr. 1.
This picture book delivers exactly what its
title promises—an examination of excrement,
which also reveals a little something about the
animal that left it behind. An opening two-
page spread pairs the question “Whose poop
is that?” with an illustration and description
of a particular dropping. This sample might
contain twigs and stems, old leaves, or bones
and fur, for example. Once readers turn the
page, the answer is revealed, along with some
facts about the poop or the animal’s diet.
Whose poo is full of splinters? A panda’s,
due to its constant bamboo munching. Os-
eid’s pen-and-ink illustrations are digitally
colored, giving clear yet stylized renderings
of the seven animals and droppings in ques-
tion, including a coprolite (fossilized dung)
and one trick poop (what is it really?!). A final
spread gives bulleted “Scoop on Poop” and
“Animal Poop Facts” lists for more detailed in-
formation. The kid-friendly illustrations and
matter-of-fact tone make this title an infor-
mative, rather than a gross-out, pick, though
that is certainly what will get kids reaching for
the shelves. —Julia Smith
Continued from p. 49