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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

I love the bold and detailed (and very green!) illustrations in Nature All Around: Trees. This nonfiction book (hopefully the start of a series?) provides lots of basic information about trees -- from the differences between deciduous and evergreens, to pollination, photosynthesis, classification, as well as a look at how trees change over the course of the four seasons.

In addition to providing general information, this book gives some tips on exploring and appreciating the incredible variety of trees in the world, and the many different ways they help us and the environment by cleaning the air, and providing fruit, shade, and shelter for animals.

It's not too information-heavy, but would be too wordy for preschool-age children (though a glossary is provided at the end for words like cambium, stomata, cotyledon, etc.).

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Pamela Hickman
Illustrator: Carolyn Gavin
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

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While the text in Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women is probably comparable to a magazine article or blog post in length (and therefore is a very quick read), the illustrations fill out the information and help to humanize this topic. 

We get to hear from a few different autistic women about some of the challenges and differences that they face in life. There is also some information about the differences in the ways that autistic men and autistic women present their symptoms, which can lead to women being underdiagnosed. 

Despite its short length, I found it fairly informative and a good resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the gender differences in autistic people, and the lived experiences of autistic women.

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Sarah Bargiela
Illustrator: Sophie Standing
Pages: 48
Content Advisory: The topic of dating and sex is discussed in a non-explicit way.

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Prehistoric Actual Size is a really neat book that highlights several extinct species from long ago, including some dinosaurs, but also other kinds of animals such as a giant millipede, a terrifying-looking horned rodent, and a "terror bird," among others. Since dinosaurs tend to get most of the attention in the prehistoric world, it's nice to see a variety of creatures here.

The illustrations show each creature as their actual size, as the title indicates, which is easy for some, but for others means only small parts of them actually fit in the book, such as teeth or a claw. It's a fairly large-sized book, but it also includes a fold-out page to give a bit more room to a few creatures.

Scrounged From: A used book sale

Format: Hardcover
Author/Illustrator: Steve Jenkins 
Pages: 36
Content Advisory: None

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National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry is a large keepsake book full of gorgeous animal photography, and includes poems about animals from many well-known poets such as Robert Frost, Ogden Nash, Hilaire Belloc, Mary Ann Hoberman, and many more.

I really had no idea there were so many child-friendly poems about so many different kinds of animals. The book is organized into sections which start off with some well-known animals such as "the big ones" and "the winged ones" but goes on to include categories like "the strange ones" and "the noisy ones." 

We're reading through this book this year and my kids and I are enjoying it. Some poems are funny, most are short, most are also straightforward, though some are more abstract, but the photography helps anchor the subject matter. This would be a great book for any home with children -- but also for adults who love animals and poetry too!

Scrounged From: Amazon

Format: Hardcover
Author: Various -- edited by J. Patrick Lewis
Pages: 192
Content Advisory: None

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On the surface, Mixed looks like a book about mixing colors. I'd been looking for something like this that would give kids a visual of primary/secondary colors, and I thought it would be great if it was told in a story format to make things more interesting.

Turns out this story does involve mixing colors, but it has a lot more going on and I really like how the deeper issue was portrayed through a relatively simple story. With descriptive but succinct text, the narrative begins with three color populations living together in a city, who soon decide to live apart after an argument about which one is better. Each color keeps their distinctive traits sequestered in their own part of the city, until one day a blue and a yellow meet, fall in love, and decide to... *gulp*... mix!

So while it's about art, it's also about racism, and could probably be applied to many other distinctives that have become ways by which people have tried to assert superiority over others. Perhaps it's oversimplified, but for a short and sweet fable, I though it worked really well, and didn't feel heavy-handed to me.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author/Illustrator: Arree Chung
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: None

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