COMPARISON FUN SERIES. CHILD’S WORLD. GR. 1–3.
How Big Is a Blue Whale? By Kurt Waldendorf. 2017. 24p. illus.
lib. ed., $27.07 (9781503816756). 599.5.
How Slow Is a Sloth? By Kurt Waldendorf. 2017. 24p. illus. lib. ed.,
$27.07 (9781503816794). 599.3.
How Small Is a Hummingbird? By Kurt Waldendorf. 2017. 24p.
illus. lib. ed., $27.07 (9781503816800). 598.7.
How Strong Is an Ant? By Kurt Waldendorf. 2017. 24p. illus. lib.
ed., $27.07 (9781503816817). 595.7.
The content of these playful books in the Comparison Fun series
perfectly matches the series title. Each book uses a variety of often
whimsical comparisons to bring to life one small corner of the natural
world. Although many books make one or two such comparisons, they
are the backbone of this series. The facts presented are often unusual,
compelling, and illustrated clearly. For example, in How Big Is a Blue
Whale?, a spread that compares the size of the whale’s heart to a small
car shows a picture of the whale with a yellow compact car superimposed over the heart’s position. How Slow Is a Sloth? points out that a
sloth takes six seconds to crawl the length of a pencil (pictured) and
one minute to climb the height of a door (pictured). In How Small Is
a Hummingbird?, we learn that the tiny birds are only as long as two
bumblebees, and side-by-side photos show that length. In How Strong
Is an Ant?, readers will grasp that these minuscule insects are mighty,
though the comparisons are sometimes convoluted, including several
variations on “If ants were the size of humans” or “If a human was as
strong as an ant.” The books also provide teaching notes, but they feel
superfluous in the face of such engaging material that speaks for itself.
FAST TRACK: WHO LIVES HERE? SERIES. BLACK
RABBIT/BROWN BEAR. K–GR. 2.
Deep Sea. By Mary-Jane Wilkins. 2017. 24p. illus. lib. ed., $28.50
Grasslands. By Mary-Jane Wilkins. 2017. 24p. illus. lib. ed., $28.50
Mountains. By Mary-Jane Wilkins. 2017. 24p. illus. lib. ed., $28.50
Rain Forests. By Mary-Jane Wilkins. 2017. 24p. illus. lib. ed.,
$28.50 (9781781213490). 591.734.
Young readers meet a variety of creatures that call specific biomes
GREAT TIPS ON WRITING SERIES. AMICUS/12-STORY.
home in the Fast Track: Who Lives Here? series. Each volume kicks
off with a map and brief description of the featured biome, including
a general fact about its wildlife. For instance, mountain-dwelling ani-
mals often have shaggy coats to fend off cold temperatures, while some
deep-sea creatures produce their own light. Next, 10 to 11 animals
are profiled in colorful, photo-rich spreads. The unusual adaptations
of the anglerfish, goblin shark, and cuttlefish are among those high-
lighted in Deep Sea. Grasslands presents denizens of both tropical and
temperate grasslands, such as lions and prairie dogs. Mountains zooms
in on Mount Everest but then expands its focus to the bighorn sheep
of the Rockies and Japan’s snow monkeys, among others. Though their
temperate counterparts are mentioned in the back matter, tropical rain
forests, which house the tapir, big-eyed tarsier, and flying frog, are the
subject of Rain Forests. The content of these books is more scattershot
than comprehensive—the continent on which an animal lives isn’t al-
ways noted, and the creature profiles consist of three or four facts—but
readers will get a basic sense of each biome’s inhabitants. Visual de-
pictions of comparative size would have been helpful, but the photos
will draw kids in. Concluding facts and a glossary round out the text.
12 Great Tips on Writing a Blog. By Barbara Krasner. 2017. 32p.
illus. lib. ed., $31.35 (9781632352736). 070.5.
12 Great Tips on Writing a Speech. By Catherine Elisabeth Shipp.
2017. 32p. illus. lib. ed., $31.35 (9781632352774). 808.5.
12 Great Tips on Writing Fiction. By Catherine Elisabeth Shipp.
2017. 32p. illus. lib. ed., $31.35 (9781632352743). 808.3.
12 Great Tips on Writing Poetry. By Yvonne Pearson. 2017. 32p.
illus. lib. ed., $31.35 (9781632352750). 808.1.
The books in the Great Tips on Writing series dip into various
forms of writing familiar to young people. Overall, there is a good
deal of information presented, though chapters on select topics are
on the skimpy side. Writing a Blog explains the purpose of blogs, ways
to acquire and keep an audience, and how to review and edit posts.
Problematically, there’s just one mention of blogging platforms and
only a brief warning about putting out personal information. Writing
a Speech includes solid information about actually giving a speech and
suggests ways to get the speech’s point across most effectively. Writing
Fiction shows readers how to choose a genre, find a story and write
strong dialogue, and discover ways to use their personal experiences; it
also describes voice, style, and tone, and offers hints for avoiding common writing errors, like the use of clichés. Although the book makes
good use of examples, the organization is not always strong. Writing
Poetry is perhaps the most successful book in the series, emphasizing
not only how to write poems but why. Concrete suggestions about
form and language are included as well as the sensible recommendation to read poetry. The books’ material is emphasized in “Quick Tips”
and “Try It Out” sidebars, and their formats are bright and illustrated
with plenty of stock photos. —Ilene Cooper
ICE AGE MEGA BEASTS SERIES. CREATIVE COMPANY/
CREATIVE EDUCATION. GR. 1–3.
Dire Wolves. By Sara Gilbert. 2017. 24p. illus. $19.95
Giant Short-Faced Bears. By Sara Gilbert. 2017. 24p. illus. $19.95
Monster Birds. By Sara Gilbert. 2017. 24p. illus. $19.95
Stag-Moose. By Sara Gilbert. 2017. 24p. illus. $19.95
Uncomplicated text and a high-interest, animal-themed topic will
likely draw readers to the Ice Age Mega Beasts series. It looks at the
large, prehistoric beasts that predated the animals of the modern world
and discusses the factors that led to their successful evolution as well as,
later, their extinction. Dire Wolves examines the ancestor of the modern gray wolf, explaining how its size, teeth, and fur made it a top
cold-weather predator. Giant Short-Faced Bears explores the habitats of
these massive mammals and how their size affected their relationships
with other carnivores. Monster Birds focuses primarily on teratorns, the
largest of the giant Ice Age birds and the last relatives of the dinosaurs.
Stag-Moose describes the diet and habitat of these creatures, the only
herbivore in the bunch, and explains how they used their large antlers