Misses the mark.

READ REVIEW

WHAT THE DOG KNOWS YOUNG READERS EDITION

SCENT, SCIENCE, AND THE AMAZING WAYS DOGS PERCEIVE THE WORLD

A reprise of the 2013 adult book of the same name, now for young readers.

When author Warren gets a German shepherd puppy, she wants a dog that will lie under her desk quietly as her former dog, the gentle Zev, did. So she is horrified to discover that puppy Solo is a “jackass”—a no-manners, bullying, uncontrollable bundle of energy. But Warren loves research, and her investigations lead her to a group of people who train dogs to sniff out missing dead people—a task it seems Solo’s personality traits are tailor-made for. Warren details the training she and Solo undergo to achieve certification, and she does a commendable job of conveying to readers the perseverance needed to achieve goals. The narrative flow isn’t seamless, though, containing odd, jerky segues. Additionally, despite the promise of the subtitle, the story is heavily focused on the use of dogs in law enforcement and war, which becomes both tedious and a downer. The machismo culture subtly filters into the narrative (“Teaching him to not be a wimp helped me not be a wimp”), which gives it all a dated feel. Sidebars offer occasional adjunct information, more or less successfully (DNA, physiology of smell), and there are plenty of black-and-white photos of dogs, trainers, and handlers (all the humans seem to be white). The lasting impression, however, is one of human aggression, not the dog’s amazing nose.

Misses the mark. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2814-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

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.

EXPLORING SPACE

FROM GALILEO TO THE MARS ROVER AND BEYOND

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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