A fascinating and foreboding call to action.




Following on the heels of Beyond Words: What Elephants and Whales Think and Feel (2019), this second adaptation of Safina’s adult bestseller Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel (2015) provides strong evidence for the author’s assertion that “A wolf is not an ‘it.’ A wolf is a ‘who.’ ”

The conversational text begins with a short prologue about the author’s decision to research wolves in the wild to better understand his own dogs, Jude and Chula. Off he goes to the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park, where scientists have been collaring and tracking wolves since their reintroduction in 1995. The last of the indigenous wolves had been killed by a dutiful park ranger in 1926—before most people understood that without wolves, that particular ecosystem was doomed. Indeed, only a few years after reintroduction, the system had rebalanced. In 2012, gray wolves were removed from the federal endangered species list, and Wyoming ended its moratorium on wolf-killing. Used to moving beyond the confines of the national park during winter, wolves who had never feared humans were easy prey for hunters. Safina makes it heartbreakingly clear that each dead wolf represents a huge disturbance to each discrete wolf pack. Readers learn the personal histories, behaviors, and personalities of several specific wolves. There is some humor to soften the overall alarming wake-up call, and vivid descriptions allow readers to join treks across wintry landscapes. Later in the book, attention turns to the author’s dogs, domestication, and even theory of mind, all conveyed clearly and succinctly.

A fascinating and foreboding call to action. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-14465-2

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...



With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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



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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