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A solid addition to the smokejumpers shelf, timelier than ever.

A tribute to wildfire fighters and the teams supporting them.

In orotund tones Paley lionizes frontline firefighters and those behind them, from lookouts to medevac workers, in the struggle to control a forest fire. These rugged heroes, he writes, “do not slide down poles or ride in shiny red trucks” and must be “part lumberjack, part mountain goat” to do their dangerous, exhausting jobs. Moreover, as recognition of the central importance of periodic fires to forest and other ecosystems has grown, he goes on to note repeatedly, they have taken on a larger mission to be “stewards of the land.” Seven elite “hotshot crews” of Native Americans are singled out for special commendation at the end, and though the diverse figures in Mendoza’s dramatic, swirling montages are as generic as the fire, she well serves readers fond of poring over fine details of tools and gear with exact depictions of specialized equipment, from an Osborne Firefinder and Bambi Buckets to digging and clearance implements like the Pulaski and Rhino. And standard checklists drawn from a professional manual of best safety practices and outdoor fire hazards may help readers become more fire aware. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A solid addition to the smokejumpers shelf, timelier than ever. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2023

ISBN: 9781797214504

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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From the How To Explain Science series

A lighthearted first look at an increasingly useful skill.

Grown-ups may not be the only audience for this simple explanation of how algorithms work.

Taking a confused-looking hipster parent firmly in hand, a child first points to all the computers around the house (“Pro Tip: When dealing with grown-ups, don’t jump into the complicated stuff too fast. Start with something they already know”). Next, the child leads the adult outside to make and follow step-by-step directions for getting to the park, deciding which playground equipment to use, and finally walking home. Along the way, concepts like conditionals and variables come into play in street maps and diagrams, and a literal bug stands in for the sort that programmers will inevitably need to find and solve. The lesson culminates in an actual sample of very simple code with labels that unpack each instruction…plus a pop quiz to lay out a decision tree for crossing the street, because if “your grown-up can explain it, that shows they understand it!” That goes for kids, too—and though Spiro doesn’t take the logical next step and furnish leads to actual manuals, young (and not so young) fledgling coders will find plenty of good ones around, such as Get Coding! (2017), published by Candlewick, or Rachel Ziter’s Coding From Scratch (2018).

A lighthearted first look at an increasingly useful skill. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9781623543181

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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