ENVIRONMENTAL AMERICA

THE SOUTHEASTERN STATES

One of six glossy, readable titles, each focusing on environmental issues and concerns in one US region. Each discusses air quality, water pollution, land use, habitat destruction, polluters, and both public and private efforts to clean up the environment. While the whole is an impressive effort to make regional issues accessible, the series suffers from sloppy editing, including factual errors and quoting out of context, possibly introducing bias. Here, for example, Herda says that increased acidity in fresh-water supplies releases numerous heavy metals into the water and adds that ``these heavy metals are known to cause a wide variety of serious diseases—from kidney damage and cancer to Alzheimer's....'' No cause has yet been definitively established for Alzheimer's. Since most of the footnotes in all six titles come from just five sources, their biases and authority might usefully have been suggested: When a company chemist sounding off during the battle between Oregon's timber industry and conservationists is quoted as saying, ``Babies are replaceable!'' (see The Northwestern States), it would be good to be able to evaluate the veracity of the source. Still, a valuable introduction to environmental problems. ``Things You Can Do''; ``Hotline Numbers''; list of organizations; brief notes; bibliography; glossary; index. (Nonfiction. 10-14)l

Pub Date: May 1, 1991

ISBN: 1-878841-07-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1991

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

HOOT

The straight-arrow son of a maybe-federal agent (he’s not quite sure) turns eco-terrorist in this first offering for kids from one of detective fiction’s funniest novelists. Fans of Hiaasen’s (Basket Case, 2001, etc.) novels for adults may wonder how well his profane and frequently kinky writing will adapt to a child’s audience; the answer is, remarkably well. Roy Eberhardt has recently arrived in Florida; accustomed to being the new kid after several family moves, he is more of an observer than a participant. When he observes a bare-footed boy running through the subdivisions of Coconut Grove, however, he finds himself compelled to follow and, later, to ally himself with the strange boy called Mullet Fingers. Meanwhile, the dimwitted but appealingly dogged Officer Delinko finds himself compelled to crack the case of the mysterious vandals at the construction site of a new Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House—it couldn’t have anything to do with those cute burrowing owls, could it? The plot doesn’t overwhelm with surprises; even the densest readers will soon suss out the connections between Mullet Fingers, the owls, and Mother Paula’s steadfast denial of the owls’ existence. The fun lies in Hiaasen’s trademark twisted characters, including Dana Matherson, the class bully who regularly beats up on Roy and whose unwitting help Roy wickedly enlists; Beatrice Leep, Mullet Fingers’s fiercely loyal sister and co-conspirator; Curly, Mother Paula’s hilariously inept foreman; and Roy’s equally straight-arrow parents, who encourage him to do the right thing without exactly telling him how. Roy is rather surprisingly engaging, given his utter and somewhat unnatural wholesomeness; it’s his kind of determined innocence that sees through the corruption and compromises of the adult world to understand what must be done to make things right. If the ending is somewhat predictable, it is also entirely satisfying—Hoot is, indeed, a hoot. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2002

ISBN: 0-375-82181-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

Did you like this book?

WEATHER

Remarking that ``nothing about the weather is very simple,'' Simon goes on to describe how the sun, atmosphere, earth's rotation, ground cover, altitude, pollution, and other factors influence it; briefly, he also tells how weather balloons gather information. Even for this outstanding author, it's a tough, complex topic, and he's not entirely successful in simplifying it; moreover, the import of the striking uncaptioned color photos here isn't always clear. One passage—``Cumulus clouds sometimes build up into towering masses called cumulus congestus, or swelling cumulus, which may turn into cumulonimbus clouds''—is superimposed on a blue-gray, cloud-covered landscape. But which kind of clouds are these? Another photo, in blue-black and white, shows what might be precipitation in the upper atmosphere, or rain falling on a darkened landscape, or...? Generally competent and certainly attractive, but not Simon's best. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-10546-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more