A compelling, kid-friendly, and visually appealing erosion story.

EROSION

HOW HUGH BENNETT SAVED AMERICA’S SOIL AND ENDED THE DUST BOWL

From the Moments in Science series , Vol. 5

A soil conservation expert helps solve America’s Dust Bowl problem in this fifth Moments in Science picture book.

In the 1930s, eroding soil and the resulting gigantic dust storms, some reaching as high as 8,000 feet, destroyed millions of acres of farmland. When a congressional committee met in 1935 to discuss the problem, a soil scientist named Hugh Bennett (1881-1960) explained that farmers needed to change their methods, for example by rotating crops. But the committee was unconvinced it needed to take action—until a monster dust storm that “blotted out the sun” blew into Washington, D.C. Congress approved a soil conservation agency, the first of its kind, and Bennett became its director, reducing the areas affected by the Dust Bowl by half in two years. Pattison tells an entertaining story that captures not just scientific facts, but human drama as well. She makes erosion immediately understandable through simple but accurate language and attention-grabbing comparisons, such as a storm that “could have covered…Chicago in soil 12 inches (30.48 centimeters) deep.” But she doesn’t explain that plowing the deep-rooted native prairie contributed greatly to erosion. Willis’ illustrations are stylish, richly colored, and dynamic, with playful details, like the recurring image of a raccoon covering its eyes from the dust.

A compelling, kid-friendly, and visually appealing erosion story.

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62944-149-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Mims House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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