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From the Books for a Better Earth series

Drills deeply into its subject.

A chill introduction to how ice cores are excavated and what paleoclimatologists can learn from them.

Drilling out ice cores and analyzing them may sound straightforward in principle, but as the author takes readers from remote sites atop glaciers or in forbidding polar locales to repositories such as the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center in Ohio, where the cores are preserved, a very different view of the challenges involved emerges. Van Vleet precisely describes the specialized gear and techniques, not to mention hazards ranging from 200-mile-an-hour Antarctic winds to what she dubs “the dreaded exploding ice core.” She also explains in specific detail how cores are transported to warmer climes, preserved, and then prepared for study. Along with indicating what the ice’s layers (as well as the solids and gases in them) reveal about past climate patterns, she fills in background information about natural climate cycles and the clear evidence that we are currently in a decidedly unnatural one. Van Vleet inserts both thought experiments and hands-on projects into each chapter and closes with substantial lists of online and video information sources. “It’s all pretty cool,” Van Vleet writes. Agreed. The photos are informative, if small and scanty; the few human figures not muffled in heavy weather gear are light-skinned.

Drills deeply into its subject. (photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2024

ISBN: 9780823453986

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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This glossy, colorful title in the “I Want To Be” series has visual appeal but poor organization and a fuzzy focus, which limits its usefulness. Each double-paged layout introduces a new topic with six to eight full-color photographs and a single column of text. Topics include types of environmentalists, eco-issues, waste renewal, education, High School of Environmental Studies, environmental vocabulary, history of environmentalism, famous environmentalists, and the return of the eagle. Often the photographs have little to do with the text or are marginal to the topic. For example, a typical layout called “Some Alternative Solutions” has five snapshots superimposed on a double-page photograph of a California wind farm. The text discusses ways to develop alternative forms of energy and “encourage environmentally friendly lifestyles.” Photos include “a healer who treats a patient with alternative therapy using sound and massage,” and “the Castle,” a house built of “used tires and aluminum cans.” Elsewhere, “Did You Know . . . ” shows a dramatic photo of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, but the text provides odd facts such as “ . . . that in Saudi Arabia there are solar-powered pay phones in the desert?” Some sections seem stuck in, a two-page piece on the effects of “El Niño” or 50 postage-stamp–sized photos of endangered species. The author concludes with places to write for more information and a list of photo credits. Pretty, but little here to warrant purchase. (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-15-201862-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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In this companion to Portraits of War: Civil War Photographers and Their Work (1998), Sullivan presents an album of the prominent ships and men who fought on both sides, matched to an engrossing account of the war's progress: at sea, on the Mississippi, and along the South's well-defended coastline. In his view, the issue never was in doubt, for though the Confederacy fought back with innovative ironclads, sleek blockade runners, well-armed commerce raiders, and sturdy fortifications, from the earliest stages the North was able to seal off, and then take, one major southern port after another. The photos, many of which were made from fragile glass plates whose survival seems near-miraculous, are drawn from private as well as public collections, and some have never been published before. There aren't any action shots, since mid-19th-century photography required very long exposure times, but the author compensates with contemporary prints, plus crisp battle accounts, lucid strategic overviews, and descriptions of the technological developments that, by war's end, gave this country a world-class navy. He also profiles the careers of Matthew Brady and several less well-known photographers, adding another level of interest to a multi-stranded survey. (source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-1553-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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