Open anywhere and be prepared to be amazed, amused, and, occasionally, revolted.

READ REVIEW

REAL OR FAKE?

FAR-OUT FIBS, FISHY FACTS, AND PHONY PHOTOS TO TEST FOR THE TRUTH

A compendium of hoaxes, urban myths, true/false posers, unlikely exploits, strange pictures, and wacky inventions designed to give readers’ “Baloney!” buzzers a real workout.

In no particular order, between accounts of the arboreal octopus of the Pacific Northwest (“Fake!”) and cluster-balloonist “Lawn Chair Larry” (“Real”), Krieger presents over four dozen credibility testers. She rates each main entry for veracity on a “fib-o-meter” and for changes of pace mixes in lists of bizarre headlines or inventions and strings of real or reworked photographs. Though she includes classics like Piltdown Man and the BBC’s 1957 report on the spaghetti-tree harvest, most of these dillies are relatively recent. Each entry features one or more photos, plus an appropriately surreal patchwork collage that Cocotos assembles by placing snipped-out images of human teeth or other features onto animal faces or bodies. Some of the factual entries are the real surprises here: yes, Theodore Roosevelt really did go on to deliver a speech after he was shot, Buzz Aldrin was the first man to pee on the moon (no details on that are provided), and diapers for chickens are a thing. So, apparently, are sheep-nose bot flies (“Insect Lives in Sheep Snot”) and pet-food tasters. So the author claims anyway, though she cites no sources or URLs, and at least some of her “facts” are, at best, moot.

Open anywhere and be prepared to be amazed, amused, and, occasionally, revolted. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2405-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Though this has more of a religious bent than most biographies, children should gain an understanding of the new pope as a...

JORGE FROM ARGENTINA

THE STORY OF POPE FRANCIS FOR CHILDREN

Beginning with the emigration of Jorge’s grandparents from Italy to Argentina, this biography traces Bergoglio’s life, concluding with his attendance at World Youth Day in July 2013, as Pope Francis.

This is a much more personal biography (meant for a slightly younger audience) than Pope Francis by Stephanie Watson (2013). Only briefly mentioning Argentina’s “Dirty War” and entirely leaving out the scandals of the Catholic Church and the more publicized examples of Bergoglio’s humility, Monge and Wolfe focus instead on the experiences that shaped Bergoglio’s faith and led him to the priesthood. The text’s lack of a bibliography may lead readers (or their parents) to wonder how the more intimate details of Bergoglio’s life were uncovered, especially with regard to the rather stilted and unnatural-sounding dialogue and internal monologues. Simple, short sentences make this accessible for young readers, though more contextual definitions (or a glossary) would have been helpful, especially for those unfamiliar with the Catholic faith. Also, commas that could help young readers with comprehension are frequently missing, and there are some awkward sentence constructions: “There was always studying or homework to do for school, or help needed around the house.” Kizlauskas’ illustrations are quite realistic looking (if stiff), though they do not always appear on the same spread as the text that accompanies them.

Though this has more of a religious bent than most biographies, children should gain an understanding of the new pope as a person. (Biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8198-4006-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Pauline Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher.

MICROBES

A playful introduction to bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa.

Readers are going to need a basic grounding in cytology from the start, as Gallagher drops such terms as “nucleus” and “organelles” into the discourse without defining them and rushes past plasmids without explaining what they are or do. Likewise, though she fits out all of the jelly-bean–like cells and microbes in her lighthearted illustrations with expressive faces—not to mention occasional limbs, fashion accessories, and hair—she rarely includes recognizable biological components. She’s not particularly systematic either, as she mentions four major components of the human immune system but goes on to describe only two. More usefully, along with frequent mentions of how ubiquitous microbes are, her main focus seems to be laying out microbial types and subtypes, from the five shape-related groups of bacteria to the even more ancient archaea (Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, and Korarchaeota), and describing their individual distinctions and how they reproduce. Polysyllabic as some of this content is, the breezy presentation should impart to general students, as well as budding microbiologists, a nodding acquaintance with our single-celled neighbors and residents.

Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63411-009-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thunderstone Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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