An inspiring, sometimes frightening, always richly thought-provoking exploration of our shared home.

While satellite photographs of Earth may seem like an everyday sight, this collection, adapted from Grant’s Overview: A New Perspective of Earth (2016), is far from mundane.

The images are rich in saturated color and even more impressive in their tantalizing diversity, including artificial structures that range from an immense parking lot beside a Montgomery, Alabama, car factory to a stunning image of Palm Jumeirah (human-crafted islands in Dubai)—and before-and-after images of wildfire damage to a suburb in California. Photos of the natural world are even more remarkable. Even from space, Niagara Falls is immense and powerful. Mount Fuji rises above the landscape with its gaping, snow-filled crater. River deltas in their intricate tracery, the drought-ravaged landscape of South Africa, and tulip fields of the Netherlands in full bloom—each image inspires thoughtful examination. While numerous landscapes are included for their pure beauty, many more illustrate powerful lessons on the changes humankind has wrought on the face of the Earth: They are vivid admonitions on climate change, deforestation, and pollution. At times the fairly small text is presented on a dark background that’s dramatic in appearance but challenging to read, but this is a small quibble. Fine backmatter includes an index that provides map coordinates for each illustrated site. Using these, readers can travel via Google to more detailed information.

An inspiring, sometimes frightening, always richly thought-provoking exploration of our shared home. (Nonfiction. 8-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3202-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021


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

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. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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