A memorable flight for prospective space travelers.

DISCOVER OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

An overview of our solar system, from the sun to the Kuiper Belt, and how we are exploring it.

As solar-system tours go, it’s a quick flyby, but it’s also lively and unusually rich in uncommon observations and insights. Following views of the Big Bang and the history of astronomy, Stuart stops at the sun, then Mercury, Venus (where human visitors would be “baked, crushed, and dissolved”), and each other planet in succession. On the way, he cogently argues that Mars is the “most explored” planet, as we have better maps of its surface than our own ocean bottoms. The journey is rounded out with a mixed bag of topical spreads ranging from a gallery of dwarf planets to a timeline of our outer-space ventures up to Elon Musk’s 2018 SpaceX rocket launch and a diagrammatic look at a modern Soyuz launch and return. In the illustrations, satellites and spacecraft, enlarged images of select moons, exploded views, fact boxes, and digestible narrative blocks orbit Brandon-King’s larger, reasonably realistic planetary portraits. Occasional scenes feature light- and dark-skinned human figures of all genders peering into telescopes or floating in vacuum.

A memorable flight for prospective space travelers. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78708-017-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Button Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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OIL SPILL!

DISASTER IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

The cleanup, finger pointing, litigation and economic recovery are still ongoing, but this overview of the Deepwater Horizon disaster offers a short and coherent account of the spill itself, the well’s eventual capping and, in broad strokes, the immediate environmental impact. Noting that the initial explosion occurred the very night of a ceremony commending the crew’s safety record (but not going into the long tally of construction shortcuts that made that ceremony so disingenuous), Landau provides a linear nonjudgmental account of major events between the April 20 eruption and the announcement of a permanent plug on Sep. 19, 2010. Big color photos add views of the platform burning, ships cleaning up oil slicks, oil-soaked wildlife and damaged coastal areas, along with smaller murky pictures of the failed blowout preventer on the ocean floor and the replacement cap. Additional graphics provide clear views of the technology—the rig itself, a cross-section of the blowout preventer and the relief well in relation to the original well—and a map of the Gulf coastline shows the affected areas. Limited, out of date and entirely based on secondary sources as it is, this still presents younger audiences a slightly more complete picture than Mona Chiang’s Oil Spill Disaster (2000). Includes eco-activities, resource lists and a tally of other major spills. (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-7485-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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