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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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

FLASH FACTS

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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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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