A ridiculously simplistic apology for science and technology. Bova sets up a straw idiot who cries "get rid of science and technology" and "stop research" (anti-science spokesmen "cry" and "blame" here, while scientists and engineers "point out"), then mows him down by reminding us that no one would want to live without fire like homo erectus. . . or even caked with grime and dying like the gentle Tasaday. And that though some here seek a return to medieval subsistence farming, those in India and elsewhere who do live that way are striving to enter the 20th century. (He doesn't assess the prospects for human survival after everyone gets there.) It is science and technology, Bova goes on, that eliminated slavery and brought wealth which made workers' lives richer. As for scientists making the atom bomb, "nuclear science has saved more lives than it has taken" and its second generation promise is endless. Further, "if Frankenstein really existed, his knowledge would be used to help sick people. . . so scientists are really on our side"—and, in fact, it is their unheralded work that has caused the U.S. and Soviet Russia to head in the direction of a "safer and saner" world. (?) Because Bova never faces the hard questions—preferring to answer stupid ones like "if you scientists really believe in evolution why do you call it a theory"—he won't win over any thoughtful humanities types who have serious reservations about the long run benefits of runaway technology. And as for those others who are taking up the occult: If it is simultaneously likely that they (a) pose a threat to the rule of reason and (b) are open to persuasion by reason, then a serious, point-by-point investigation such as Gallant's Astrology (KR, 1974) should be more convincing.

Pub Date: April 1, 1975

ISBN: 0664325572

Page Count: 123

Publisher: Westminster

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1975

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A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist.


This follow-up to How To Read a Story (2005) shows a child going through the steps of creating a story, from choosing an idea through sharing with friends.

A young black child lies in a grassy field writing in a journal, working on “Step 1 / Search for an Idea— / a shiny one.” During a walk to the library, various ideas float in colorful thought bubbles, with exclamation points: “playing soccer! / dogs!” Inside the library, less-distinct ideas, expressed as shapes and pictures, with question marks, float about as the writer collects ideas to choose from. The young writer must then choose a setting, a main character, and a problem for that protagonist. Plotting, writing with detail, and revising are described in child-friendly terms and shown visually, in the form of lists and notes on faux pieces of paper. Finally, the writer sits in the same field, in a new season, sharing the story with friends. The illustrations feature the child’s writing and drawing as well as images of imagined events from the book in progress bursting off the page. The child’s main character is an adventurous mermaid who looks just like the child, complete with afro-puff pigtails, representing an affirming message about writing oneself into the world. The child’s family, depicted as black, moves in the background of the setting, which is also populated by a multiracial cast.

A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5666-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A festive invitation to creative liberation.


A pleasingly tactile exploration of the possibilities inherent in mistakes.

"A torn piece of paper... / is just the beginning!" Spills, folded paper, drips of paint, smudges and smears—they "all can make magic appear." An increasingly complex series of scenarios celebrates random accidents, encouraging artistic experimentation rather than discouragement. The folded-over paper can be a penguin's head; a torn piece of newsprint can turn into a smiling dog with a little application of paint; a hot-chocolate stain can become a bog for a frog. Thanks to a telescoping pop-up, a hole is filled with nearly limitless possibilities. The interactive elements work beautifully with the photo-collaged "mistakes," never overwhelming the intent with showiness. Saltzberg's trademark cartoon animals provide a sweetly childlike counterpoint to the artful scribbles and smears of gloppy paint.

A festive invitation to creative liberation. (Pop-up. 4-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5728-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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