From the Atlas of . . . series

Readers after records should stick with Guinness.

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. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020


Here is an adventure in a unique setting. The lively text and lovely watercolors document three and a half months of a summer the artist and author spent at the South Pole, as part of the National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists & Writers Program. Hooper describes everyday life aboard the research ship Laurence M. Gould, a sturdy orange icebreaker that scientists use to travel between the islands to study the wide variety of animals who come each year to breed and raise their young. An assortment of penguins, elephant seals, giant petrels, huge skuas, and leopard seals hold center stage. Scientists are less important than the serious business of successfully raising young in the short summer season. The author captures the drama of the ice-cold ocean, alive with life: “Swarms of barrel-shaped blue-tinged salps, stuck together in floating chains. Minute creatures with red eyes. Sliding through the water in a curving path like a ribbon.” The artist provides striking paintings of the landscape and the animals in soft washy colors, and quick pencil sketches. The ice is lemon gold with mauve shadows, and the sea a silver gray in the 24-hour day. Animals are expressive and individual. The krill, the tiny shrimp-like creatures that form the backbone of the ocean food chain, appear in luminous glory. The author concludes with a page on global warming, a map of the islands visited, and an index. From cover to cover a personal and informative journey. (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7188-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000




An introduction to ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs buried in the Valley of the Kings. The authors begin with how archaeologist Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tut, then move back 3,000 years to the time of Thutmosis I, who built the first tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Finally they describe the building of the tomb of a later Pharaoh, Ramses II. The backward-forward narration is not always easy to follow, and the authors attribute emotions to the Pharaohs without citation. For example, “Thutmosis III was furious [with Hatshepsut]. He was especially annoyed that she planned to be buried in KV 20, the tomb of her father.” Since both these people lived 3,500 years ago, speculation on who was furious or annoyed should be used with extreme caution. And the tangled intrigue of Egyptian royalty is not easily sorted out in so brief a work. Throughout, though, there are spectacular photographs of ancient Egyptian artifacts, monuments, tomb paintings, jewels, and death masks that will appeal to young viewers. The photographs of the exposed mummies of Ramses II, King Tut, and Seti I are compelling. More useful for the hauntingly beautiful photos than the text. (brief bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7223-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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