Late, lubberly, unlikely to survive fitter treatments.

WHEN DARWIN SAILED THE SEA

UNCOVER HOW DARWIN'S REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS HELPED CHANGE THE WORLD

Long retraces the courses of both Darwin’s voyage aboard the Beagle and the growth of his epochal insight into evolution’s driving mechanism.

Trailing a flotilla of publications over the past decade celebrating the 200th anniversary of the naturalist’s birth and the 150th of his magnum opus, this unexceptional account sails a course that has been more ably navigated—most recently, for example, in Fabien Grolleau’s graphic Darwin: Voyage of the Beagle (2019) and annotated, illustrated adaptations of On the Origin of Species by Rebecca Stefoff (2018) and Sabina Radeva (2019). Notable here is how the influential role that John Edmonstone, a formerly enslaved taxidermist from Guyana, played in shaping the young Darwin’s interests and skills is highlighted in both the narrative and with a full-page portrait by Kalda (who also adds staid views of modern students of various ethnicities, including one wearing a hijab, into the closing summary). Many other important predecessors and colleagues are relegated to an appendix, however. The author also tries to sail too close to the wind with blanket claims that before Darwin scientists reckoned Earth’s age in just thousands of years (not all of them) and that Origin actually kicked off the “long-running battle between science and religion” (Galileo, among others, might disagree). Stick with more seaworthy vessels.

Late, lubberly, unlikely to survive fitter treatments. (glossary, timeline) (Illustrated biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: July 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4968-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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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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OIL SPILL!

DISASTER IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

The cleanup, finger pointing, litigation and economic recovery are still ongoing, but this overview of the Deepwater Horizon disaster offers a short and coherent account of the spill itself, the well’s eventual capping and, in broad strokes, the immediate environmental impact. Noting that the initial explosion occurred the very night of a ceremony commending the crew’s safety record (but not going into the long tally of construction shortcuts that made that ceremony so disingenuous), Landau provides a linear nonjudgmental account of major events between the April 20 eruption and the announcement of a permanent plug on Sep. 19, 2010. Big color photos add views of the platform burning, ships cleaning up oil slicks, oil-soaked wildlife and damaged coastal areas, along with smaller murky pictures of the failed blowout preventer on the ocean floor and the replacement cap. Additional graphics provide clear views of the technology—the rig itself, a cross-section of the blowout preventer and the relief well in relation to the original well—and a map of the Gulf coastline shows the affected areas. Limited, out of date and entirely based on secondary sources as it is, this still presents younger audiences a slightly more complete picture than Mona Chiang’s Oil Spill Disaster (2000). Includes eco-activities, resource lists and a tally of other major spills. (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-7485-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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