An indigestible jumble likely to be left on the launch pad by many of the available higher-powered surveys.

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DESTINATION: SPACE

A tour of the universe, from the Big Bang to today’s search for life on other worlds.

Englert leaves the picture incomplete by stopping at the present, but that’s only one problem with this book. His attempts to cram information into the abbreviated, disorganized narrative too often result in either arbitrary leaps (“[Scientists] think dark energy is more like a property of the universe, and that this is the reason why the universe is still EXPANDING today”) or outright misinformation. Examples of the latter include the implication that “thousands” of habitable exoplanets have been discovered (the number is actually around 25, and that’s with a broad definition of “habitable”) and the claim that “Earth’s gravity keeps the Moon from MOVING AROUND EARTH.” The illustrations don’t provide much boost either, as instead of the stunning space photographs or photorealistic images that generally light up this sort of tour, Cole offers mundane painted scenes featuring five young space travelers (all apparently white but one) marveling at garishly colored wonders when they’re not laughing (!) as they and the Earth are “spaghettified” in a black hole. A detachable fold-out poster features a pair of constellation maps on one side without directions for use and an unlabeled view of the Eagle Nebula’s “Pillars of Creation” on the other.

An indigestible jumble likely to be left on the launch pad by many of the available higher-powered surveys. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-840-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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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Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark.

DARK MATTERS

NATURE'S REACTION TO LIGHT POLLUTION

Reflections on the ways that artificial light upsets patterns and behaviors in the natural world.

Galat (Stories of the Aurora,2016, etc.) spins childhood memories into semifictive reminiscences. Between recalling lying on her back in the snow at 10 to trace the Big Dipper and describing links between light pollution and several environmental issues as a grown-up naturalist, the author recalls camping trips and other excursions at various ages. These offer, at least tangentially, insights into how artificial lighting could affect nocturnal insects, sea turtle hatchlings, bats, and migratory birds, as well as the general hunting, mating, and nesting behaviors of animals. She closes, after a quick mention of scotobiology (the study of life in darkness), with a plea to turn off the lights whenever possible. Though she does not support this general appeal with specific practices or, for that matter, source notes for her information, she does offer a list of internet search terms for readers who want to explore the topic further. Despite illustrations that range from a close-up of a road-kill raccoon to pointless filler and passages that, paradoxically, are hard to read except in bright light because they’re printed over speckled fields of stars, this outing covers a topic that should be of interest to young stargazers and scotobiologists alike.

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88995-515-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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