A smart overall survey sprinkled with choice nuggets of garbage lore. Dig in.

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WHAT A WASTE!

WHERE DOES GARBAGE GO?

Eamer proves that garbage can both be highly entertaining and serve as a backdrop to the human story.

This exploration of garbage—its creation and its destination—travels back in time to start at the beginning, to the creation of middens, and moves forward. The book is composed of short chapters that tackle such topics as city garbage and country garbage; plastic; wasted food; and a frankly fascinating chronicle of the disposal and/or reuse of human biological waste. Along the way, a welter of sidebars and brief biographies introduce such concepts as mudlarks (children who patrolled the 19th-century River Thames, which “was thick with garbage, raw sewage, and even rotting corpses,” in search of bits and bobs to sell) and disco rice: “the squirming maggots that thrive in many of [New York City’s] garbage dumpsters.” There is also much promise in these pages, inventive characters who came up with ideas that are helping quell the great trash-dumping problem, such as the invention of the blue recycle box, efforts to salvage the absurd waste of food, and a gent who has turned cigarette butts into stacking pallets. There are also handfuls of practical advice and a serious finger pointed at disposal’s greatest nemesis: plastic. It’s all populated by Edlund’s lightly cartoonish characters—gender-, race-, and species-rich—and landscapes.

A smart overall survey sprinkled with choice nuggets of garbage lore. Dig in. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55451-919-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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This middle-grade story of family, friendship and school has all the right elements, but it lacks an ignition spark.

RUBY GOLDBERG'S BRIGHT IDEA

A Rube Goldberg namesake discovers there’s more to life than inventions.

Fifth-grader Ruby Goldberg spends more time thinking about elaborate contraptions than about school or the people around her. Determined to win the gold medal that has eluded her in earlier science fairs, she focuses all her attention on the construction of her entry, ignoring her patient best friend’s needs and her grieving grandfather’s feelings. But there’s hope that, like the cartoonist and inventor she was named for, she can become a more well-rounded person. At her father’s suggestion, she collaborates with classmate Dominic, a former rival. Working together leads to friendship, and their intricate system for the delivery of a newspaper and slippers is, indeed, an engineering marvel—though she comes to understand it will never replace her grandfather’s dog. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite all come together, despite Ruby’s appropriately self-centered and sometimes-funny narration. By her own account, Ruby has been supercompetitive for years; her sudden behavior changes are therefore not quite credible. Ruby’s inventive mind is interesting, though the actual diagrammed workings of her Tomato-Matic 2000 are sadly opaque (thank goodness the narrative describes it).

This middle-grade story of family, friendship and school has all the right elements, but it lacks an ignition spark. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8027-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

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A rare chance to shine for the former ninth planet.

PLUTO'S SECRET

AN ICY WORLD'S TALE OF DISCOVERY

Is it a planet? A dwarf planet? What’s up with that mysterious body that, even in our best telescopes, floats tantalizingly at the edge of visibility?

Pairing a lighthearted narrative in a hand-lettered–style typeface with informally drawn cartoon illustrations, this lively tale of astronomical revelations begins with the search for “Planet X.” It then sweeps past Pluto’s first sighting by Clyde Tombaugh and its naming by 11-year-old Venetia Burney to the later discovery of more icy worlds—both in our solar system’s Kuiper belt and orbiting other stars. Meanwhile, sailing along with a smug expression, the mottled orange planetoid is “busy dancing with its moons. / Cha-cha / Cha-cha-cha” and Kuiper buddies as it waits for Earth’s astronomers to realize at last that it’s different from the other planets (“BINGO!”) and needs a new classification. Ceres inexplicably rates no entry in the gallery of dwarf planets, and the closing glossary isn’t exactly stellar (“World: Any object in space”), but fans of Basher’s postmodern science surveys will feel right at home with the buoyant mix of personification and hard fact.

A rare chance to shine for the former ninth planet. (photos and additional detail, “Note from the Museum,” suggested reading, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0423-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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