An exciting, well-executed book that will captivate young readers.


From the Deadliest series , Vol. 2

Sept. 8, 1900, was a day no one in Galveston, Texas, would ever forget.

In a White part of town, 5-year-old Katherine Vedder wasn’t worried until her brother and cousin reported “that the Gulf looked like a great gray wall about fifty feet high.” Young African American newlywed Annie Smizer McCullough, who lived close to the beach, feared her beloved roses would be washed away in the storm. But no one was prepared for the devastation that would leave at least 8,000 people dead. In the States, it was originally thought the storm would head north after passing over Cuba; U.S. bias against Cuba prevented their warning that it was in fact heading west from being heard. Without modern technology, weather forecasters were dependent on tools such as barometers and rain gauges and their experience with previous storm patterns. This well-laid-out book tells a thrilling and terrifying story by combining science with social context. Quoting oral histories, journals, and letters, Hopkinson shares the vivid recollections of survivors. She also presents an inclusive portrait of the differences between African Americans’ and White people’s experiences of this natural disaster during a time of segregation. Photos of hurricanes and their aftermath add to the impact. The superlative backmatter includes a glossary, entertaining activities, oral history prompts, and additional resources for learning about hurricanes. Some information about other major hurricanes and the impact of climate change is included.

An exciting, well-executed book that will captivate young readers. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-36017-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic Focus

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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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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A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts.


From a Caldecott and Sibert honoree, an invitation to take a mind-expanding journey from the surface of our planet to the furthest reaches of the observable cosmos.

Though Chin’s assumption that we are even capable of understanding the scope of the universe is quixotic at best, he does effectively lead viewers on a journey that captures a sense of its scale. Following the model of Kees Boeke’s classic Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps (1957), he starts with four 8-year-old sky watchers of average height (and different racial presentations). They peer into a telescope and then are comically startled by the sudden arrival of an ostrich that is twice as tall…and then a giraffe that is over twice as tall as that…and going onward and upward, with ellipses at each page turn connecting the stages, past our atmosphere and solar system to the cosmic web of galactic superclusters. As he goes, precisely drawn earthly figures and features in the expansive illustrations give way to ever smaller celestial bodies and finally to glimmering swirls of distant lights against gulfs of deep black before ultimately returning to his starting place. A closing recap adds smaller images and additional details. Accompanying the spare narrative, valuable side notes supply specific lengths or distances and define their units of measure, accurately explain astronomical phenomena, and close with the provocative observation that “the observable universe is centered on us, but we are not in the center of the entire universe.”

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts. (afterword, websites, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4623-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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