Looks good but does nothing new.

READ REVIEW

DISCOVERING ARCHITECTURE

A colorful, informative, and Eurocentric crash course in world architecture for young readers.

This well-illustrated work of nonfiction does a solid job of providing basic architectural knowledge for young readers, but its limited survey of examples undercuts its utility. The Egyptian pyramids, the Parthenon, Rome (“the birth of town planning”) and the Pantheon, and a single page on Byzantine architecture represent early examples. Other non-European architectural landmarks featured include the Imam Khomeini Mosque in Isfahan, Iran; a Moroccan Berber village; and Japanese architecture, represented by a typical house and the Katsura Imperial Villa. A spread on domestic architecture offers pictures of homes in Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the U.K., the American Great Plains, Oman, China, Brazil, Malaysia, Cameroon, and more, but no context is provided. Of architects profiled, only Zaha Hadid is not a white, European man; a paragraph on female architects states that historically, “they did not receive the credit they deserved,” then goes on to prove the point by cramming 15 further names into three sentences. Latin America and Australia are almost completely ignored. It is notable that illustrated builders, architects, and engineers are largely pale-skinned, though one of book's child guides is a girl of color, and there is a woman of color in a picture of a modern architecture firm. That this nonfiction book provides more details on an imagined Martian outpost than on both sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America is downright depressing.

Looks good but does nothing new. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-7870-8029-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Button Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more