BIRD'S-EYE VIEW

From the Orca Wild series

An accessible and appealing invitation to connect with the world of birds.

What are birds, why are they important, why are they in trouble, and what can we do to help them?

Biologist Eriksson, who explored our connections to the ocean in Dive In (2018), here turns to another of her passions, birding. In six nicely organized chapters, she provides both an overview and a close-up look at ways to get involved in learning about birds and supporting them. “Amazing Avians” offers a clear definition of the avian order, even showing its evolutionary connection to dinosaurs. “Winged Wonders” presents some significant bird phenomena such as migration, the dawn chorus, and tool use. “Zooming in on Wild Birds” talks about bird feeding, bird-watching, and citizen science. “Why Wild Birds Matter” explains the importance of birds to the environment as well as to humans. “Beating the Big Bad Three” describes the major reasons bird numbers have declined: habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change. Finally, she invites her readers to help in “Giving Wild Birds a Boost” and reports on group efforts internationally toward “Keeping Wild Birds in Flight.” There are plentiful photographs of both birds and birders of many ages, nationalities, and races; sidebars and small features offering additional information; and full pages devoted to introducing some young birders. With the recent announcement that billions of birds have disappeared from North American skies in the past 50 years, this is a particularly timely title.

An accessible and appealing invitation to connect with the world of birds. (glossary, resource, index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2153-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

FLASH FACTS

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

ISAAC NEWTON

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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