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

OVERVIEW, YOUNG EXPLORER'S EDITION

A NEW WAY OF SEEING EARTH

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 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

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 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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

FLASH FACTS

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. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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