Best for casual browsing; for systematic, reliable information, look elsewhere.

NATURAL WORLD

A VISUAL COMPENDIUM OF WONDERS FROM NATURE

A broad overview of the biosphere, with hundreds of stylish plant and animal portraits.

Kitted out with a foldout poster jacket, multiple ribbons, and a color-coded system of margin tabs, this oversized album collects 67 topical “charts” presenting, in no apparent order, surveys of world habitats and ocean zones; introductions to taxonomy and food webs; arrays of bird beaks, feet, eggs, nests, and feathers; group portraits of related organisms and closer looks at selected single ones. Animals are the main focus, though other kingdoms draw at least some notice. Davey’s digital illustrations look like cut-paper collages—flat of surface and perspective, composed of multiple elements of diverse hue and pattern. The figures are generally recognizable and capable of putting on a grand show, as with one display of birds of paradise and another of tropical reef denizens. The lighting, though, is murky throughout, sometimes to the extent that physical details are obscured. Similarly, captions and blocks of explanatory text, which are all in minuscule type, are hard to see against the darker backgrounds. More problematically, readers will be left in the dark by unamplified claims that inorganic things are “not made of cells but of tiny things called particles,” and “some fish are more closely related to other vertebrates than they are to other fish.”

Best for casual browsing; for systematic, reliable information, look elsewhere. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-782-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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African-American Geo cuts a suitably chiseled figure in the pictures, but he doesn’t get enough to do and so is really no...

THE INCREDIBLE PLATE TECTONICS COMIC

From the Adventures of Geo series , Vol. 1

Superhero Geo introduces readers to plate tectonics.

Reviewing information on his way to school for a big geology test, young George transforms himself into “Geo,” a uniformed superhero with a rocket-propelled skateboard and a robotic canine sidekick. In his imaginary adventure, he leaps over sidewalk “faults,” swerves away from “tsunamis” splashed up by a passing truck and saves an elderly lady from falling into an open manhole “volcano.” Meanwhile, supported by visual aids provided by inserted graphics and maps, Geo goes over the convergent, divergent and transform movements of tectonic plates, subduction, magnetic “stripes” paralleling oceanic ridges and a host of other need-to-know facts and terms. All of this is illustrated in big, brightly colored sequential panels of cartoon art hung about with heavy blocks of explication. After the exam comes back with, natch, a perfect score (“I guess all that studying paid off”), Lee, a geophysicist, abandons the story for a final 10 pages of recap and further detail on plate tectonics’ causes, effects and measurement—closing with a description of what geologists do.

African-American Geo cuts a suitably chiseled figure in the pictures, but he doesn’t get enough to do and so is really no more than a mouthpiece—perhaps there will be more of a plot in his next adventure. (online projects, index) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59327-549-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: No Starch Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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A well-organized overview boosted by some unusual feats and sidelights.

50 SPACE MISSIONS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

From the Beginner's Guide to Space series

A quick highlight reel of ventures into the high frontier, from the V-2’s first flight in 1942 on.

Read defines mission broadly, so that his tally includes both single achievements, like Sputnik and Apollo 11, and clusters—three Mars rovers for mission No. 22, for instance, and for No. 48, an entire “climate change fleet” of orbiting geophysical satellites. The general drift is chronological, but after introductory looks at how rockets and gravity work, entries are grouped in topical chapters. These begin with “manned” spaceflight up to Valentina Tereshkova’s 1963 orbit, move through looks at ongoing projects such as SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy booster, and conclude with glimpses of near-future missions to the moon and Mars. Not every flight here “changed the world” in any substantial way, but along with the usual suspects there are some that may be new even to well-read students of space exploration…such as the U.S.’s first spy satellite, Corona, launched in 1960, and 1982’s international Cospas-Sarsat satellite-based search-and-rescue system. Also, the (then) Soviet Union’s little-known moon rover Lunokhod 1 (1970) gets a nod, as does Cuban cosmonaut Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, who actually preceded U.S. astronaut Guion Bluford to become the first person of African descent into space. Small photos and graphic images shoehorned in around the narrative blocks give some pages an overcrowded look, and human figures, though rare, are nearly all White and male.

A well-organized overview boosted by some unusual feats and sidelights. (glossary, websites) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4595-0626-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Formac

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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