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Thursday, June 13, 2019

MOLES: Superpower Field Guide, written by Rachel Poliquin and illustrated by Nicholas John Frith. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2019. $23.99 ages 8 and up

"Then back to digging, another somersault, and more pushing. Dig, somersault, push. Dig, somersault, push. It's serious work keeping your tunnels tidy. Soon the dump tunnel is plugged. But by now, Rosalie has dug far enough down her tunnel that it's time to dig a new dirt dump anyway. That's why molehills are often evenly spaced across your lawn. How shipshape! How tidy!"

Oh, what fun it was to share the first book in the 'superpower' series, Beavers (2018). This time we get to learn all we can about Moles. Ms. Poliquin advises that moles also have 10 superpowers; readers are not likely aware of them all. So, she proceeds to share them.

She begins with its architectural prowess; moves on to allow a close look at paws, double-thumb-digging ability, incredibly strong arms, squidgibility, whisker warning system, hoarding talents, perhaps toxic saliva, and finally its blood of the gods. Along the way readers discover that evolution has been pretty wonderful when it comes to moles and their adaptation to the straw they drew in terms of life on our planet.

Keeping to the format and design of Beavers, the author names her mole (Rosalie) and proceeds to share each of Rosalie's powers, with accurate information humorously presented to up both the learning and the enjoyment for finding out all we can about this little insectivore. Along the way, quizzes are presented to test attention and knowledge. The tone is bold, even cheeky at times, but always meant to grab attention while informing.

"So how does Rosalie keep her pantry worms from escaping?


Now, that would be the end for you or me, but not for worms. A
worm can grow a new head in a couple of months. But until it gets a
new head, it can't move which is just the way Rosalie likes it. Sometimes
she stores hundreds of worms in a pantry. Sometimes she just pats a few
into the walls of her tunnels."

Nicholas John Frith's illustrations are humorous and contextual. Back matter includes a glossary and a brief bibliography, which includes nonfiction, fiction, and web links.

What a terrific middle grade series this is! Ostriches is up next. Watch for it in November. Do you have any idea what it's superpowers might be?

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