A necessary, engaging book that shines a light on solar energy.

READ REVIEW

RUNNING ON SUNSHINE

HOW DOES SOLAR ENERGY WORK?

From the Let's Read and Find Out series

An introduction to solar power.

DeCristofano’s engaging, conversational text compares how solar panels work to plant photosynthesis, though it never uses that scientific term. Nor does it name climate change, though it identifies pollution caused by generators at energy plants as a main culprit behind negative “changes to weather patterns” and suggests solar energy as a clean alternative. The text excels at clearly describing how solar energy is gathered, stored, and used, and it also highlights current innovations and anticipates new developments to make solar energy use more widespread and effective. The hopeful, aspirational tone is downright sunny and is well-matched with Medeiros’ clear, graphic illustrations, which she created digitally. While neither pictures nor expository text follow specific characters, the artwork depicts diverse people of varied skin tones, genders, and abilities interacting with solar-powered devices and working with solar technology, including two spreads with women of color wearing the hijab in different settings. The text also examines current difficulties and limitations of solar technology, though it doesn’t explore specifics about the process of manufacturing solar cells and panels.

A necessary, engaging book that shines a light on solar energy. (experiments, glossary) (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-247311-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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