Readers after records should stick with Guinness.

ATLAS OF RECORD-BREAKING ADVENTURES

A COLLECTION OF THE BIGGEST, FASTEST, LONGEST, TOUGHEST, TALLEST AND MOST DEADLY THINGS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

From the Atlas of . . . series

Readers will gain a record-breaking knowledge of trivia.

Take a trip across all seven continents with explorers as they discover factoids galore. The explorers, one who presents White and the other with light-brown skin, travel the world, often accompanied by a local guide, gleaning information along the way. The pages depict surreal landscapes and maps featuring slightly anthropomorphized animals, such as a bindle-carrying bird and pirate hat–wearing caiman. Each double-page spread concentrates on one area and is splattered with tiny text that provides uneven levels of information. For example, in one box readers learn that cheetahs “accelerate from zero to 55 miles per hour in just three seconds” and that ostriches are “the fastest creature on two legs.” Great! But how fast are ostriches? The same page notes that a cheetah can “reach a top speed of over 60 miles per hour.” Wait! Isn’t it 55 mph? Other facts are equally vague. Readers learn that the Greenland shark is “the world’s oldest vertebrate,” but does this mean longest-living vertebrate or the vertebrate that has been around the longest? They are also instructed to hold their breath with a Cuvier’s beaked whale, “nature’s best air-breathing diver,” but aren’t told how long these whales can go between breaths. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.8-by-15.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 84% of actual size.)

Readers after records should stick with Guinness. (seek-and-find game, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5565-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Superficial but kind of fun.

THE ADVENTUROUS KID’S GUIDE TO THE WORLD’S MOST MYSTERIOUS PLACES

Take a magic-carpet ride to far-flung and seldom-seen locations.

Readers can follow a young, pale-skinned, khaki-clad adventurer as they set out on their magic carpet to explore unusual, unexpected, and sometimes dangerous spots around the world. Locations visited include the exclusive interior of Air Force One, the remote depths of the Mariana Trench, and the (potentially) fatal shores of Brazil’s Snake Island, among others. Each adventure follows a uniform template, whereby the location is introduced in a sweeping double-page painting with an introductory paragraph followed by another spread of images and facts. The illustrations are attractive, a bit reminiscent of work done by the Dillons in the 1970s and ’80s. Alas, while the text correctly states that the Upper Paleolithic art in France’s Lascaux cave features only one depiction of a human, the introductory illustration interpolates without explanation a probably Neolithic hunting scene with several humans from a Spanish site—which is both confusing and wrong. Trivia fans will enjoy the mixture of fact and speculation about the various locations; a small further-reading section in the back points to more information. While the potentially off-putting choice of magic carpet as conveyance is never explained, there is a disclaimer warning readers that the book’s creators will not take responsibility if they suffer calamity trying to actually visit any of these places. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Superficial but kind of fun. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5159-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Magic Cat

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A disorganized grab bag with parts that may be of some value to young stargazers.

LUNA

THE SCIENCE AND STORIES OF OUR MOON

A picture of our nearest cosmic neighbor, from violent origins to likely demise.

Aguilar, a veteran science writer and illustrator, opens with a recap of (theorized) stages in the moon’s evolution over the past 4.5 billion years. Then, in no particular order, he speeds through a jumble of lunar topics including tides and phases, the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, werewolves, moon-based festivals, and visits both fantastic and real. In a more practical vein, at least for budding sky watchers, he follows a simplified map of the moon’s near side with closer looks at 17 craters and other features easily visible through small telescopes or binoculars before closing, after a scenario of the moon’s probable end, with instructions for creating a plaster or papier-mâché moonscape and for drawing (not photographing!) lunar features observed through a lens. All of this is presented against a seamless series of photos and realistic paintings, sometimes a mix of the two. The author’s ethnography in his discussion of myths is at best superficial, and his survey of earthly history ends with the Apollo program, but his astronomy-based descriptions and explanations are clear and well-founded.

A disorganized grab bag with parts that may be of some value to young stargazers. (websites, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3322-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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