Beginning at the beginning, 4.5 billion years ago, when the earth was nothing but a cloud of dust grains and gas whirring around the young sun, Patent (Bold and Bright Black-and-White Animals, 1998, etc.) discusses the shaping of the earth and the changes to it from that time to the present. This impressive introduction to earth science describes early and current theories about the origin of the earth and other planets, the formation of the moon, the layers of the earth's crust and core, plate tectonics, origins of life from deep sea vents, and continental drift. It describes volcanic action, earthquakes, glaciers, and the effects of wind, water, farming and industry on shaping the earth. Throughout, double-page spreads on blue paper provide related topics—e.g., how the Hawaiian Islands were formed; the devastation caused by tropical storm Hugo on the South Carolina Coast; or how beavers change the landscape with their dams. Handsomely presented, glossy pages, wide white borders, guide words in colored type, full color photographs, and many maps and drawings make the whole accessible to the reader. The author, a noted science writer concludes with a glossary, index, further reading and Web sites of interest. The latter provide extensive resources for students researching plate tectonics and other topics in earth science. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 20, 2000

ISBN: 0-395-85691-4

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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Middle school worries and social issues skillfully woven into a moving, hopeful, STEM-related tale.


Following the precise coordinates of geocaching doesn’t yield the treasure Kirby Zagonski Jr. seeks: his missing father.

Geeky eighth-grader Kirby can’t understand why his mother won’t call his dad after their generous landlady dies and they’re evicted for nonpayment of rent. Though his parents have been divorced for several years and his father, a wealthy developer, has been unreliable, Kirby is sure he could help. Instead he and his mother move to the Community Hospitality Center, a place “for the poor. The unfortunate. The homeless.” Suddenly A-student Kirby doesn’t have a quiet place to do his schoolwork or even a working pencil. They share a “family room” with a mother and young son fleeing abuse. Trying to hide this from his best friends, Gianna and Ruby, is a struggle, especially as they spend after-school hours together. The girls help him look for the geocaches visited by “Senior Searcher,” a geocacher Kirby is sure is his father. There are ordinary eighth-grade complications in this contemporary friendship tale, too; Gianna just might be a girlfriend, and there’s a dance coming up. Kirby’s first-person voice is authentic, his friends believable, and the adults both sometimes helpful and sometimes unthinkingly cruel. The setting is the largely white state of Vermont, but the circumstances could be anywhere.

Middle school worries and social issues skillfully woven into a moving, hopeful, STEM-related tale. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-548-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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