Fact-packed and thought-provoking with an intriguing design, a colorful reminder of “our beautiful home.” (glossary, index)...

PRECIOUS PLANET

A USER'S MANUAL FOR CURIOUS EARTHLINGS

Explaining the workings of our planet through the metaphor of a house in which all parts are connected, this oversized import argues for its protection.

This graphically striking overview presents Earth from its beginnings as “a construction site” whose building took nearly 40 million years. Spread by spread and room by room, the French creators describe such things as the “security system” of Earth’s magnetic shield; the running fresh water and “bathroom” of seas and oceans; and the “greenhouse” of habitats and their plants. The textile industry is consigned to the “closet,” and our trash, compost, and medication to a “utility room.” Tectonic plates make up the first floor; the continents are living rooms. Humans and animals are equally “the roommates” as the creators take on both income inequality and endangered species. They even speculate about “vacation homes”—exploring and perhaps inhabiting other planets. The conceit makes a fine container for many facets of earth science, ecology, and conservation issues, and the author has based his statements on recent and generally accepted science theories. Large graphic panels are shaped, numbered, and colored to help readers make their ways through the text, which, sadly, is often set in white, sometimes very small print, as in a previous title from this trio, Recordmania (2018). The humans shown vary in age and skin tone.

Fact-packed and thought-provoking with an intriguing design, a colorful reminder of “our beautiful home.” (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-3-89955-837-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little Gestalten

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A splendid volume for young adventurers.

SURVIVOR KID

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WILDERNESS SURVIVAL

Based on her work with middle-school students, Long offers lessons on how to stay healthy and out of trouble while awaiting rescue, the same lessons taught to adults in her survival classes.

Her matter-of-fact, no-nonsense tone will play well with young readers, and the clear writing style is appropriate to the content. The engaging guide covers everything from building shelters to avoiding pigs and javelinas. With subjects like kissing bugs, scorpions, snow blindness and “How going to the bathroom can attract bears and mountain lions,” the volume invites browsing as much as studying. The information offered is sometimes obvious: “If you find yourself facing an alligator, get away from it”; sometime humorous: Raccoons will “fight with your dog, steal all your food, then climb up a tree and call you bad names in raccoon language”; and sometimes not comforting: “When alligators attack on land, they usually make one grab at you; if they miss, you are usually safe.” But when survival is at stake, the more information the better, especially when leavened with some wit. An excellent bibliography will lead young readers to a host of fascinating websites, and 150 clipart-style line drawings complement the text.

A splendid volume for young adventurers. (index not seen) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56976-708-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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