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

WILD ANIMAL NEIGHBORS

SHARING OUR URBAN WORLD

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. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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

BILL NYE'S GREAT BIG WORLD OF SCIENCE

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. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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An outstanding case study in how science is actually done: funny, nuanced, and perceptive.

THE FIRST DINOSAUR

HOW SCIENCE SOLVED THE GREATEST MYSTERY ON EARTH

How does a new, truly revolutionary idea become established scientific fact?

Lendler spins his account of how the awesome age and significance of fossils came to be understood into a grand yarn that begins 168 million years ago. He fast-forwards to 1676 and the first recorded fossil fragment of what was later named Megalosaurus and builds on the premise of “The Blind Men and the Elephant” to trace the ensuing, incremental accretion of stunning evidence over the next two centuries that the Earth is far older than the Bible seems to suggest and was once populated by creatures that no longer exist. It’s a story that abounds in smart, colorful characters including Mary Anning, Richard Owen (a brilliant scholar but “a horrible human being”), and Gideon Mantell, “a dude who really, really loved fossils.” Along the way the author fills readers in on coprolites (“the proof was in the pooing”), highlights the importance of recording discoveries, and explains how the tentative suggestion that certain fossils might have come from members of the “Lizard Tribe” morphed into the settled concept of “dinosaur.” Though he tells a Eurocentric tale, the author incorporates references to sexism and class preconceptions into his picture of scientific progress. Butzer’s illustrations add decorative and, sometimes, comical notes to sheaves of side notes, quotations, charts, maps, and period portraits and images.

An outstanding case study in how science is actually done: funny, nuanced, and perceptive. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2700-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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