It may not be epic, but this is certainly one launch that fails to get off the ground.

READ REVIEW

THE WRIGHT BROTHERS

NOSE-DIVING INTO HISTORY

From the Epic Fails series , Vol. 1

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try and try and try.

In a series launch bent on showing how failure may be instructive, Thompson and Slader turn the story of the Wright Brothers into an amusing, bite-sized history lesson. History’s early flight fiascos and successes are recounted, culminating in Orville and Wilbur Wright’s. Over the years they would experiment, fail, learn from their mistakes, tinker, fail, and tenaciously pursue their dreams until they succeeded. Alas, troubles dog this well-intentioned series opener. An early statement that “It would seem that before man would learn to fly, he’d have to learn how to fall” prefaces a book that ignores the contributions (and failures) of such early women aeronauts as Sophie Blanchard. In a section on ballooning, a statement that the novel Around the World in Eighty Days was “about circling the globe in a hot air balloon” is incorrect (no ballooning occurs in that book). Attempts to appeal to child readers today yield awkward sentences that describe the brothers as “steampunk hipsters at Comic-Con” wrestling with the controls of the plane “like trying to play a multiplayer computer game with a really bad Internet connection.” Artist Foley renders the text accessible with his lively pen-and-ink drawings, but they are too little, too late.

It may not be epic, but this is certainly one launch that fails to get off the ground. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-15055-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Flash Point/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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