A quick skim; flashy though not particularly nourishing.




From the Basher series

More hip pop-art science from Basher and Green, though here the collaborators may have “bytten” off more than they can chew.

They lead off with a tribute to “that ancient Greek brainiac” Archimedes, the only inventor who gets more than a quick name-drop. Then, portrait-gallery–style, the team introduces several dozen personified machines from “Wheel and Axle” (“Hey there, let’s start this thing rollin’!”) to “Radar” and “Rocket.” Household appliances like “Toilet” and (landline) “Telephone” also step up to the mike, as do such basic materials as “Concrete” and “Plastic,” as well as high-tech wizardry including “User Interface” and “Internet.” Each subject introduces itself with a pair of paragraphs over a trio of unrelated facts, while Basher provides for each a stylized, considerably simplified cartoon portrait anthropomorphized by a smiling white face with slanted, slit eyes. Though readers will come away at least exposed to terms like “thermosetting” and “laser sintering,” Green’s facts aren’t always kosher—“once defunct,” says Satellite, “we move to a graveyard orbit”—or even comprehensible (“World’s most efficient gas turbine: 60%.”). Furthermore, despite statements from “Smart Card” and “Particle Accelerator” not all of the entries are so cutting-edge; the “Cell Phone,” for instance, only makes phone calls and sends texts.

A quick skim; flashy though not particularly nourishing. (foldout poster) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: July 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7534-6819-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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African-American Geo cuts a suitably chiseled figure in the pictures, but he doesn’t get enough to do and so is really no...


From the Adventures of Geo series , Vol. 1

Superhero Geo introduces readers to plate tectonics.

Reviewing information on his way to school for a big geology test, young George transforms himself into “Geo,” a uniformed superhero with a rocket-propelled skateboard and a robotic canine sidekick. In his imaginary adventure, he leaps over sidewalk “faults,” swerves away from “tsunamis” splashed up by a passing truck and saves an elderly lady from falling into an open manhole “volcano.” Meanwhile, supported by visual aids provided by inserted graphics and maps, Geo goes over the convergent, divergent and transform movements of tectonic plates, subduction, magnetic “stripes” paralleling oceanic ridges and a host of other need-to-know facts and terms. All of this is illustrated in big, brightly colored sequential panels of cartoon art hung about with heavy blocks of explication. After the exam comes back with, natch, a perfect score (“I guess all that studying paid off”), Lee, a geophysicist, abandons the story for a final 10 pages of recap and further detail on plate tectonics’ causes, effects and measurement—closing with a description of what geologists do.

African-American Geo cuts a suitably chiseled figure in the pictures, but he doesn’t get enough to do and so is really no more than a mouthpiece—perhaps there will be more of a plot in his next adventure. (online projects, index) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59327-549-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: No Starch Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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A well-organized overview boosted by some unusual feats and sidelights.


From the Beginner's Guide to Space series

A quick highlight reel of ventures into the high frontier, from the V-2’s first flight in 1942 on.

Read defines mission broadly, so that his tally includes both single achievements, like Sputnik and Apollo 11, and clusters—three Mars rovers for mission No. 22, for instance, and for No. 48, an entire “climate change fleet” of orbiting geophysical satellites. The general drift is chronological, but after introductory looks at how rockets and gravity work, entries are grouped in topical chapters. These begin with “manned” spaceflight up to Valentina Tereshkova’s 1963 orbit, move through looks at ongoing projects such as SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy booster, and conclude with glimpses of near-future missions to the moon and Mars. Not every flight here “changed the world” in any substantial way, but along with the usual suspects there are some that may be new even to well-read students of space exploration…such as the U.S.’s first spy satellite, Corona, launched in 1960, and 1982’s international Cospas-Sarsat satellite-based search-and-rescue system. Also, the (then) Soviet Union’s little-known moon rover Lunokhod 1 (1970) gets a nod, as does Cuban cosmonaut Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, who actually preceded U.S. astronaut Guion Bluford to become the first person of African descent into space. Small photos and graphic images shoehorned in around the narrative blocks give some pages an overcrowded look, and human figures, though rare, are nearly all White and male.

A well-organized overview boosted by some unusual feats and sidelights. (glossary, websites) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4595-0626-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Formac

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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