THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE

SUPERNOVAE, DARK ENERGY, AND BLACK HOLES

“Strange as it may seem, 96 percent of the universe seems to be made of two ingredients that no one understands.” This shining addition to the Scientists in the Field series focuses on astronomer Alex Filippenko, part of a team researching dark energy and dark matter in the universe. Jackson’s clear, logically organized text provides appropriate background, introducing Filippenko as teacher and researcher and following him as he uses the Keck Observatory in Hawaii to find a supernova. One chapter discusses current thinking about the big bang theory and the composition of the universe, and the book concludes with a description of the scientist’s day-to-day work at the Lick Observatory in California. Bishop’s photographs and illustrations bring readers into Filippenko’s world, while NASA photographs add to their sense of wonder. Special sections explain spectrographs, the electromagnetic spectrum, black holes and the measurement of time and light. Thoughtful design adds to the pleasure of this splendid invitation to explore darker corners of the universe. (bibliography, student and teacher resources, clubs and organizations, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: May 5, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-618-56325-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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WORLD WITHOUT FISH

The author of Cod (1997) successfully provides readers with a frightening look at the looming destruction of the oceans. Brief sections in graphic-novel format follow a young girl, Ailat, and her father over a couple of decades as the condition of the ocean grows increasingly dire, eventually an orange, slimy mess mostly occupied by jellyfish and leatherback turtles. At the end, Ailat’s young daughter doesn’t even know what the word fish means. This is juxtaposed against nonfiction chapters with topics including types of fishing equipment and the damage each causes, a history of the destruction of the cod and its consequences, the international politics of the fishing industry and the effects of pollution and global warming. The final chapter lists of some actions readers could take to attempt to reverse the damage: not eating certain types of fish, joining environmental groups, writing to government officials, picketing seafood stores that sell endangered fish, etc. Whenever an important point is to be made, font size increases dramatically, sometimes so that a single sentence fills a page—attention-getting but distractingly so. While it abounds with information, sadly, no sources are cited, undermining reliability. Additionally, there are no index and no recommended bibliography for further research, diminishing this effort’s value as a resource. Depressing and scary yet grimly entertaining. (Nonfiction/graphic-novel hybrid. 10 & up)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5607-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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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

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