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Oceanic in scope—but clear and refreshing.

Tour the world of water with a helpful raindrop.

This intriguing, oversized title combines science and story to explore water in all its forms. Chapters of fact alternate with stories from #ownvoices contributors about water from all over the world: Vanuatu, India, England, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Peru, and St. Lucia. They’re based on or written in the form of traditional tales. Short biographies of the storytellers are part of the backmatter. But facts come first. Even before the first story, readers learn why they should care about this subject: 71% of our planet is covered in water, but less than 1% of that water is good for humans to drink! A world map (with labeled oceans and continents) serves as a kind of second table of contents, showing where the stories came from and pointing out the locations of some of the topics covered and some water wonders. Mihaly explores different water forms, the water cycle, the importance of water to life, salt and fresh water, water power, and water use and conservation. Fold-out page wings add further information; fold-up tabs reveal activities, experiments, and actions to preserve and protect water. Mihaly has a way with words; her explanations are clear and her language well chosen, with pleasing alliteration. (Glaciers are “massive, mountainous mounds of ice.”) She addresses readers directly, with respect for their capacity. Thoughtful, engaging design and lively illustrations add further appeal.

Oceanic in scope—but clear and refreshing. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 6-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64686-280-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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