Densely packed overviews, equally suitable for poring over in a lap or mounting on a wall.

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THE NATURE TIMELINE WALLBOOK

UNFOLD THE STORY OF NATURE—FROM THE DAWN OF LIFE TO THE PRESENT DAY!

On a continuous strip over 2 meters long, the story of life from our planet’s earliest years to today’s Anthropocene Era.

On one side of the detachable, accordion-folded sheet, Forshaw strews hundreds of small figures (mostly animals once past the single-cell stage) in suggestively placed and colored environmental tracks, starting with the hypothesized “Last Universal Common Ancestor.” Developments first in water and later on land and above ensue as dinosaurs and extinct mammals parade past, early primates become Homo sapiens (all men, but the first one at least is appropriately dark-skinned), and newly domesticated flora and fauna give way to steam engines, oil rigs, and skyscrapers. A 24-hour “Earth clock” running along the top does double duty by tracking continental drift as well as suggesting the vast scale of passing epochs. Bound in behind the foldout is a set of historical “news” stories highlighting select advances from the theories of “Mr. Empedocles” to evidence of climate change and the creation of three-parent babies (the last with some factual errors). Publishing simultaneously, The Science Timeline Wallbook uses the same infographic approach, if less effectively—cramming hundreds of differently clad but essentially look-alike figures and nearly illegibly tiny captions into seven thematic ribbons. Both volumes include a (helpful, not to say essential) magnifier sheet in a front pocket and end with lengthy multiple-choice review quizzes.

Densely packed overviews, equally suitable for poring over in a lap or mounting on a wall. (Informational novelty. 10-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9932847-3-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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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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