LET'S RIDE A WAVE!

DIVING INTO THE SCIENCE OF LIGHT AND SOUND WAVES WITH PHYSICS

From the Everyday Science Academy series

Adequate science; inadequate art and plot.

A picture book that explains the physics of waves.

Red Kangaroo, the protagonist of this story and the one whose questions propel the flimsy plot, relaxes on a beach and ponders the surf, then decides to ask Dr. Chris whether “waves ever stop.” Dr. Chris, a lab-coated white man with pale skin and rosy cheeks, answers this question and all the others that Red Kangaroo poses about waves. Throughout the story, Dr. Chris teaches Red Kangaroo about wavelength, electromagnetic waves, the visible light spectrum, microwaves, X-rays, and more. Many of the key terms appear in boldface type, and in the extensive backmatter, the glossary offers definitions of all of the terms discussed. There’s also a quiz to help readers check their learning as well as several hands-on activities, with illustrations, to get kids experimenting with waves themselves. Much more instructional than entertaining, this book, like Let’s Fly a Plane, a simultaneously publishing companion in Ferrie’s Everyday Science Academy series, would be suitable additions to science lessons but not likely pleasure reading. Furthermore, the poor-quality illustrations, with repeated depictions of a lecturing Dr. Chris showing barely any variation from spread to spread—or book to book, for that matter—help explain concepts but add nothing aesthetically.

Adequate science; inadequate art and plot. (Informational picture book. 8-10 )

Pub Date: June 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8058-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

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 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

YOUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts.

From a Caldecott and Sibert honoree, an invitation to take a mind-expanding journey from the surface of our planet to the furthest reaches of the observable cosmos.

Though Chin’s assumption that we are even capable of understanding the scope of the universe is quixotic at best, he does effectively lead viewers on a journey that captures a sense of its scale. Following the model of Kees Boeke’s classic Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps (1957), he starts with four 8-year-old sky watchers of average height (and different racial presentations). They peer into a telescope and then are comically startled by the sudden arrival of an ostrich that is twice as tall…and then a giraffe that is over twice as tall as that…and going onward and upward, with ellipses at each page turn connecting the stages, past our atmosphere and solar system to the cosmic web of galactic superclusters. As he goes, precisely drawn earthly figures and features in the expansive illustrations give way to ever smaller celestial bodies and finally to glimmering swirls of distant lights against gulfs of deep black before ultimately returning to his starting place. A closing recap adds smaller images and additional details. Accompanying the spare narrative, valuable side notes supply specific lengths or distances and define their units of measure, accurately explain astronomical phenomena, and close with the provocative observation that “the observable universe is centered on us, but we are not in the center of the entire universe.”

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts. (afterword, websites, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4623-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Close Quickview