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An unusual issue set forth clearly and concisely for middle school and high school readers.

Wild animals are increasingly sharing human urban and suburban spaces around the world.

Using the examples of black bears, raccoons, mountain lions, coyotes, turtles and alligators in this country, crows in Japan and flying foxes in Australia, along with plentiful photographs, this title introduces some surprising wildlife neighbors. Downer, the author of Elephant Talk (2011), clearly explains how these animals have come into our backyards. Often, it’s because we came into theirs. Sometimes, it’s because we’ve provided easy food pickings and appealing places to live. Informational sidebars give additional facts about each species, explain some ways they’ve adapted to a human world, and make further connections between the animals (and their problems) and our own lives. An early double-page aerial photograph of New York City serves as a background for identifying the parts of a city ecosystem that attract wildlife, and a world map toward the end shows the locations of other urban wildlife problems. An epilogue suggests measures humans can take to help our species coexist with theirs. The busy, colorful design sometimes makes it difficult to follow the narrative thread, but the effort is worthwhile. Ample documentation and further resource suggestions will help readers wanting to know more.

An unusual issue set forth clearly and concisely for middle school and high school readers. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7613-9021-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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Wordplay and wry wit put extra fun into a trove of fundamental knowledge.

With an amped-up sense of wonder, the Science Guy surveys the natural universe.

Starting from first principles like the scientific method, Nye and his co-author marvel at the “Amazing Machine” that is the human body then go on to talk up animals, plants, evolution, physics and chemistry, the quantum realm, geophysics, and climate change. They next venture out into the solar system and beyond. Along with tallying select aspects and discoveries in each chapter, the authors gather up “Massively Important” central concepts, send shoutouts to underrecognized women scientists like oceanographer Marie Tharp, and slip in directions for homespun experiments and demonstrations. They also challenge readers to ponder still-unsolved scientific posers and intersperse rousing quotes from working scientists about how exciting and wide open their respective fields are. If a few of those fields, like the fungal kingdom, get short shrift (one spare paragraph notwithstanding), readers are urged often enough to go look things up for themselves to kindle a compensatory habit. Aside from posed photos of Nye and a few more of children (mostly presenting as White) doing science-y things, the full-color graphic and photographic images not only reflect the overall “get this!” tone but consistently enrich the flow of facts and reflections. “Our universe is a strange and surprising place,” Nye writes. “Stay curious.” Words to live by.

Wordplay and wry wit put extra fun into a trove of fundamental knowledge. (contributors, art credits, selected bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4676-5

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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From the Giants of Science series

Hot on the heels of the well-received Leonardo da Vinci (2005) comes another agreeably chatty entry in the Giants of Science series. Here the pioneering physicist is revealed as undeniably brilliant, but also cantankerous, mean-spirited, paranoid and possibly depressive. Newton’s youth and annus mirabilis receive respectful treatment, the solitude enforced by family estrangement and then the plague seen as critical to the development of his thoughtful, methodical approach. His subsequent squabbles with the rest of the scientific community—he refrained from publishing one treatise until his rival was dead—further support the image of Newton as a scientific lone wolf. Krull’s colloquial treatment sketches Newton’s advances in clearly understandable terms without bogging the text down with detailed explanations. A final chapter on “His Impact” places him squarely in the pantheon of great thinkers, arguing that both his insistence on the scientific method and his theories of physics have informed all subsequent scientific thought. A bibliography, web site and index round out the volume; the lack of detail on the use of sources is regrettable in an otherwise solid offering for middle-grade students. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-670-05921-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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