Mostly useful as a historical snapshot of the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A general look at the Covid-19 pandemic and response from the first cases through early 2021.

Despite the title, the primary focus here is on the global pandemic that began in late 2019 rather than the science of this class of viruses. Medical professional Goldsmith opens with an account of Dr. Li Wenliang’s realization in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, that he was seeing patients with a respiratory virus similar to SARS. A discussion of the comparative construction of bacteria and viruses offers little to help readers understand how viruses work, and the explanation of the difference between RNA and DNA viruses is cursory. The SARS, MERS, and HIV viruses are also described. Goldsmith addresses the practice of mask-wearing, the global spread of Covid, anti-Asian attacks, and why the pandemic disproportionately affected people of color in the U.S. Long-haul Covid is briefly touched upon. Due to the timing of the book, information about vaccines and their efficacy rates in preventing severe illness and death as well as about Covid variants is, not surprisingly, already incomplete. This condensed account of how the pandemic escalated and what the responses—public health, governmental, social, and political—looked like in the U.S. and around the world throughout 2020 already feels dated and largely ends with the announcement of President Joe Biden’s pandemic strategy in January 2021.

Mostly useful as a historical snapshot of the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, further information) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72842-888-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021


From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012



Unhappy teens in need of a lecture on thinking positively and being more in touch with one’s emotions need look no further.

Mangan presents in as many chapters a 20-point strategy that ranges from “Have a Positive Attitude” and “Cut Your Problems Into Pieces” to “Practice Being Patient” and “Appreciate the Value of Your Hard Work.” She blends private exercises like visualizing forgiveness with comments on selective attention, “problematic procrastination” and other bad habits, reframing situations to put them in different lights, “changing shoes” to understand others better and subjecting feelings to rational analysis. Though the author has a graduate degree and years of practice in clinical psychology, she offers generalities and generic situations rather than specific cases from her experience, and the book is devoid of references to further resources or even an index. Superficial advice (“If you are unsafe or are around kids that you know are bullies, just walk away”) combines with techniques that are unlikely to interest readers (“Make a song verse out of your list of helpful thoughts”). The author also makes questionable claims about the mind-body connection (“When you smile, your body sends a signal to your brain that you are happy”) and fails to make a case for regarding side forays into food habits and environmental concerns as relevant to her topic. Obvious issues and common-sense advice, unpersuasively presented. (Self-help. 12-15)


Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4338-1040-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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