Conventional and a bit sketchy in spots but a decent overview with some techno-tricks for young digerati.

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SPACE RACE

THE STORY OF SPACE EXPLORATION TO THE MOON AND BEYOND

The story of space travel, from the V-2 of World War II to the next wave of Martian rovers.

In the bells-and-whistles department, this survey comes with a free app that allows readers with camera-equipped phones or tablets to see blurry historical video clips and crudely rendered hovering VR images of a moon lander and the International Space Station. Less gimmicky but more useful for conveying a sense of the space program’s scope and techno-wizardry, sheaves of photos, graphic images, labeled cutaway views, and flight diagrams present the epic tale in a primarily visual way, with fact boxes and blocks of explanatory text wedged in around the pictures to create a narrative flow and fill in further incidents and details. Hubbard’s highlights-reel account spares barely a nod for Apollo missions before and after the first moon landing and relegates the human element largely to a handful of astronauts, Wernher von Braun, and Sergei Korolev. But he does give the U.S. and Soviet space efforts equal time in the early going, describes catastrophes as well as “firsts” in both programs, and he brings the tale up to NASA’s upcoming Space Launch System, the currently en route Parker Solar Probe, and no fewer than four Mars probes various countries plan to launch in 2020.

Conventional and a bit sketchy in spots but a decent overview with some techno-tricks for young digerati. (index) (Nonfiction/novelty. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4380-5068-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.

EXPLORING SPACE

FROM GALILEO TO THE MARS ROVER AND BEYOND

Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark.

DARK MATTERS

NATURE'S REACTION TO LIGHT POLLUTION

Reflections on the ways that artificial light upsets patterns and behaviors in the natural world.

Galat (Stories of the Aurora,2016, etc.) spins childhood memories into semifictive reminiscences. Between recalling lying on her back in the snow at 10 to trace the Big Dipper and describing links between light pollution and several environmental issues as a grown-up naturalist, the author recalls camping trips and other excursions at various ages. These offer, at least tangentially, insights into how artificial lighting could affect nocturnal insects, sea turtle hatchlings, bats, and migratory birds, as well as the general hunting, mating, and nesting behaviors of animals. She closes, after a quick mention of scotobiology (the study of life in darkness), with a plea to turn off the lights whenever possible. Though she does not support this general appeal with specific practices or, for that matter, source notes for her information, she does offer a list of internet search terms for readers who want to explore the topic further. Despite illustrations that range from a close-up of a road-kill raccoon to pointless filler and passages that, paradoxically, are hard to read except in bright light because they’re printed over speckled fields of stars, this outing covers a topic that should be of interest to young stargazers and scotobiologists alike.

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88995-515-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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