Just the ticket for readers addicted to quick, rapidly fading hits of information.

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INSTAGRAPHICS

A VISUAL GUIDE TO YOUR UNIVERSE

For short attention spans, a flashy gathering of photographs, graphic images, and assorted facts about various high-interest topics.

The subtitular claim to universality aims decidedly high as, in six broadly thematic chapters, Green offers what amounts to an arbitrary selection of short lists: highest mountains, biggest volcanoes, animals who have gone into space, the main components (with percentages) of the human body. Alongside the lists are graphically organized information on: bovine digestion, meerkats, Usain Bolt, how whistles are manufactured, computerese from “bit” to “yottabyte,” and like gallimaufry. All of these are embedded in such a broad range of graphic presentations (squared-off galleries, sinuous lines of time or distance, charts with infographic elements, arrangements of photos or silhouettes, maps, cutaway views, diagrams with directional arrows, and more) that the actual content seems almost incidental. (Instances of text printed white-on-yellow or some other semilegible combination do nothing to counter this notion.) Readers who actually want to know what makes Annapurna I “the world’s deadliest mountain” or what, if anything, the entire page of alternating tiny pink and blue human figures represents can go beg, and the author provides neither sources nor resources. Casual browsers will find this a rich source of easy wows, though.

Just the ticket for readers addicted to quick, rapidly fading hits of information. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-13)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-21557-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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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