Zigzag itinerary notwithstanding, a brisk and inventive excursion.

ALL ABOARD THE VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY

From the All Aboard series

A lift-the-flap cruise past select highlights in the history of human communication, from cave paintings to talkies.

Squired by a pair of tour guides—one black and one white—readers board an unusually versatile ocean liner in 1927 for passage to 1799 Egypt for a look at the newly discovered Rosetta Stone. From there it’s on to visit 16th-century English graphite mines and learn about the invention of the pencil; 17th-century Strasbourg (then a free city of the Holy Roman Empire) to witness the birth of newspapers; then see both Napoleon’s “optical telegraph” and the better-known electrical sort in action; and get good looks at the births of airmail, radio, photography, and finally moving pictures. Along with sets of clues to a side mystery that are coded in various alphabets and ciphers, the multiple flaps incorporated into each big, bright painted scene conceal descriptions and diagrams of each invention, notes on related advances, historical anecdotes, and tributes to significant figures. Alert viewers will spot repeated text under one flap and (a classic error) wrong-way threads on the screw of the printing press. Also, TV doesn’t make the cut, nor do any developments after the arrival of talking pictures. Otherwise, the liner puts in at major ports of call while venturing into some less-well-known technological inlets.

Zigzag itinerary notwithstanding, a brisk and inventive excursion. (Informational novelty. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-225-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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A trendy instructional tool, applied with mixed success both here and in the co-published Planet Earth, which gives our...

THE NATURAL WORLD

THE WORLD IN INFOGRAPHICS

From the World in Infographics series

Kicking off a series, this spotty tour of the biosphere demonstrates both the possibilities and the pitfalls of infographics.

Made up of realistically shaped silhouettes in a range of dizzyingly intense colors, the pictorial graphs packed into each single-topic spread are intended to highlight sequential or comparative relationships. Thematic groupings include the development of life on Earth, types of cells, the range of animal sizes and population trends in selected endangered species. At their best, as in a historical chart of mass extinctions or a silhouette of a sequoia next to a stack of 29 elephants, the visuals are both vivid and revelatory. More often, though, the graphics are poorly scaled (are chicken and turtle eggs really the same size, and what kind of turtle are we talking about?) or are really just stylized illustrations—a strand of DNA, an isolated slice of bread, a diagram of cell division. The accompanying captions and comments aren’t always enlightening either: Ostrich eggs “weigh about 3.5 lb. (1.5 kg)—nearly two bags of sugar.”

A trendy instructional tool, applied with mixed success both here and in the co-published Planet Earth, which gives our geology and atmosphere the same quick once-over. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-926973-74-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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