cover image Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth

Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth

Kate Gardner, illus. by Heidi Smith. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-06-274161-5

Gardner thoughtfully urges readers to look beyond animals’ most apparent traits. Porcupines are “prickly,” sure; however, they are also peaceful loners, “shy herbivores who eat leaves, flower blossoms, and berries.” Working in muted grays and greens and with fine-grained charcoal pencil lines, Smith shows two sides to each “beast.” While bats might be viewed as “ugly,” they are also helpful “caretakers,” Gardner explains: “Many bats play an important role in the environment by controlling insect populations, eating as many as eight thousand mosquitoes a night.” Sharks have sharp teeth, but they are also guardians of the ecosystem. With cogent word choices, Gardner gently urges readers to see beyond first assumptions and to celebrate the wonder of biodiversity. Ages 4–8. [em](Sept.) [/em]