PTEROSAURS

FLIGHT IN THE AGE OF DINOSAURS

Video clips and computer-graphic animations give this companion to an exhibit at New York’s American Museum of Natural History plenty of lift.

Along with a short video in which the co-curators and another expert highlight the exhibition’s subject and themes, the app offers broad looks at pterosaurs’ physical characteristics—from unique skeletal features to the wide range of variations in various species’ teeth, heads and tails. The illustrators start with the fossil record, but in a mix of still and animated images they also flesh out the prehistoric fliers with fuzz or feathers, plus flamboyantly colored heads and crests. Viewers can compare computer-generated reconstructions of pterosaurs in flight with live action clips of modern birds and insects, see pterosaurs walk and feed, tap locations on a map to visit the sites of major discoveries and use sliders to “assemble” scattered fossil fragments or create a chart of body sizes. The presentation is largely visual, but captions and easily digestible explanatory passages fill in details. Furthermore, mini-essays offer glances at renowned fossil hunters Mary Anning and O.C. Marsh. Though more a patchwork of discrete sections than a cohesive whole, this up-to-the-moment survey still flies on its own. (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (timeline) (iPad informational app. 7-10)

 

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: American Museum of Natural History

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.

THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH

An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title’s first three words—“The Amazing Age”—emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate’s bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, bibliography and map are appended.

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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