34 Booklist February 1, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
him win a jumping competition. Hawkes’
detailed mixed-media depictions include
facial expressions aptly capturing Newton’s
inquisitiveness and incessant preoccupation
with the sky. All of his wondering comes to
a head when he’s stuck at home during London’s bubonic plague, and the isolation gives
him an opportunity to formulate some of
his most iconic theories, such as his discovery of the rainbow spectrum of visible light.
Relatively dense text makes this better suited
for more advanced readers, but younger inquiring minds could be equally delighted by
listening to this genial biography read out
loud. —Anita Lock
The Official Chase ‘N Yur Face
Cookbook: Tasty Recipes and Fun Facts
to Start Your Food Adventure.
By Chase Bailey. Illus. by Samuel A.
2016. 188p. Chase ‘N Yur Face, paper, $24.95
(9780692755853). 641. Gr. 5–8.
Inspiring teen chef Chase Bailey has battled
many of the strong food aversions that come
with his diagnosis of autism. He used those
special personal challenges as motivation to
learn about a range of different culinary techniques and styles, and he presents a number
of appealing recipes in this cookbook. Interesting food trivia kicks off each chapter, and
recipes are organized into section by meal,
including dessert and beverage ideas. Each
recipe is explained in steps that adolescent
readers can easily follow and utilizes ingredients that are readily accessible. Many of the
recipes are gluten- or casein-free, appealing
to all sorts of dietary needs. The food is kid-friendly, but Bailey does not hesitate to offer
suggestions that will broaden young palates,
such as using lamb in place of beef or making pasta from vegetables. Bailey’s work is
more than just a cookbook: it’s about turning
personal challenges into adventures and opportunities, which is a message that all readers
can appreciate. —Erin Anderson
Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That
Saved an Ecosystem.
By Patricia Newman.
Apr. 2017. 56p. illus. Lerner/Millbrook, lib. ed., $31.99
(9781512426311). 599.769. Gr. 5–8.
Though the cover promises photographs
of adorable, fluffy-faced otters, this volume
packs a substantial amount of scientific
detail as well. The main narrative follows
marine biologist Brent Hughes and his study
of Elkhorn Slough, which grew healthy sea-grass while other inlets in similar conditions
suffered. Eventually, careful research revealed
that it was the presence of sea otters, the local apex predator, that allowed the slough to
flourish. In four chapters, Newman details
Hughes’ research processes and examines
the workings of ecosystems in general and
how its inhabitants affect it at every level.
Illustrations include not only those irresistible otter photos but also scientific diagrams
and photographs of Hughes’ experiments.
A final chapter on conservation explains
the often-damaging effect humans can have
on ecosystems, while back matter includes
relevant experiments, extensive secondary
resources, and ways in which young people
can help the environment on a daily basis.
Not just an exploration of one particular
discovery in marine biology, this is a comprehensive explanation of the scientific process
as well. —Maggie Reagan
The Shakespeare Timeline Wallbook.
By Christopher Lloyd and Patrick
Skipworth. Illus. by Andy Forshaw.
June 2017. 24p. What on Earth?, $19.95
(9780993284762). 822.3. Gr. 5–8.
Thanks to its uncommon format, this
What on Earth? Wallbook is a tremendously
engaging resource on a well-covered topic:
the collected works of William Shakespeare.
A foldout six-foot time line shows illustrated
stagings of 38 plays, from The Two Gentle-men of Verona to Henry VIII. The basic plot
and description of characters from each play
share space with its most famous quotes.
Illustrations and text are impossibly tiny,
but are accompanied by a hand-held magnifier that will invite readers to pore over
the time line. The second part of the book
is formatted as a series of newspaper front
pages, dating from 1616 through 2015, that
chronicle the legacy of the Bard, including the adoption of his vernacular into the
common lexicon, space orbs named after his
characters, and the quest to rebuild a faithful
rendition of the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare
trivia and selected sonnets fill the end matter.
Engrossing and packed with information,
this interactive book will capture fresh interest for the world’s most beloved playwright.
Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very
Young Prisoner of Auschwitz.
By Michael Bornstein and Debbie
Mar. 2017. 352p. illus. Farrar, $16.99 (9780374305710).
940.53. Gr. 5–8.
In 1940, Michael Bornstein was born
in Zarki, Poland—then a Nazi-occupied
ghetto. In 1944, Michael and his family ar-
rived at Auschwitz. Miraculously, in 1953,
Michael celebrated his bar mitzvah in New
York City. Here, with the help of his tele-
vision news producer daughter, he recounts
the spectacular story of his survival. The
duo chronologically document the Ger-
mans’ ruthless occupation—and eventual
liquidation—of Zarki; the Bornsteins’ com-
pulsory stint at an ammunitions factory;
their tragic trek to Auschwitz; and the af-
termath of the war in a land ruptured by
unconscionable brutality and bigotry. But
this account is shaped less by events than it is
people: Michael’s father, Israel, with his dan-
gerous devotion to a crumbling community;
Michael’s infinitely courageous Mamishu;
his ever-resilient grandmother; and his stub-
bornly spirited slew of aunts, uncles, and
cousins. Sprinkled with Yiddish and append-
ed by an informative afterword, captioned
photos, and brief glossary, the first-person
narrative is a tenderly wrought tribute to
family, to hope, and to the miracles both can
bring. A powerful memoir for the middle-
grade set. —Briana Shemroske
Otis the Owl.
By Mary Holland.
Feb. 2017. 32p. illus. Arbordale, $17.95
(9781628559392); e-book, $9.95 (9781628559408).
598.9. K–Gr. 3.
Meet Otis, a young barred owl who lives
with his family in a hole in a large tree. Sometimes joined by his sister, he sits in his home’s
opening and surveys his world. His parents
fly off to hunt, returning to feed the owlets
pieces torn from their prey. While the siblings
sometimes seem to quarrel, they also preen
each other’s soft, fuzzy-looking feathers. Otis
occasionally beats his wings, but the ground is
a long way down and he cannot fly yet. The
story is quiet rather than dramatic, but the exceptionally clear, close-up photos of Otis and
his family command attention, and Holland’s
short, simply written text is informative yet
accessible. Kids intrigued by Otis may also
enjoy the appended section that explains owl
pellets and owl anatomy, while asking readers
to identify which of eight pictured animals are
part of an owl’s diet and to match photos with
the body parts described on the facing page.
Holland, a naturalist and a skilled nature photographer, offers a visually captivating picture
book on owls. —Carolyn Phelan
Pup the Sea Otter.
By Jonathan London. Illus. by Sean
Apr. 2017. 32p. Graphic Arts/Westwinds, $16.99
(9781943328871). 599.7695. PreS–Gr. 2.
This appealing picture book follows a young
sea otter growing up. Newborn Pup rests on
his mother’s belly as she floats in the sea, nursing and grooming him until they both fall
asleep. When she needs to forage underwater,
she wraps him in kelp that anchors him bobbing on the water’s surface until her return.
Little by little, he learns to eat solid food and,
later, to find it himself. When a hungry shark
approaches, his mother shows him how to
escape. And when he’s ready, Pup becomes
independent at last. The writer of the popular
Froggy series as well as nature-themed picture books such as Otters Love to Play (2016),
Jonathan London knows how to tell a story.
In this case, he conveys plenty of intriguing
facts about sea otters, along with a bit drama
to hold children’s attentions. Fluid, colorful
illustrations clarify points in the text while
portraying the characters with soft-edged realism. An appended author’s note commenting
on sea otters of the North Pacific coastal
region rounds out this informative picture
book. —Carolyn Phelan