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An appealing introduction to a STEM trailblazer.

Self-taught naturalist Jeanne Power invented methods to study marine organisms, defying prejudice against women to become a respected scientist.

After she’d married and moved to Sicily, in the early 1800s, the French former seamstress began studying the natural world around her, documenting her observations and devising ways to observe underwater creatures. She constructed an aquarium and filled it with animals found by local fishermen. She followed the life cycle of a paper nautilus—a kind of octopus—proving they create their own shells. She became the first female member of the science academy in Sicily. Later, she joined other societies, publishing research papers and defending her work. Griffith has applied years of editing experience to his debut picture book, selecting a career highpoint for his smoothly told narrative and offering more substance for slightly older readers in backmatter, including a note on contradictions he found in his research. Sources agree that Power overcame what might have been a catastrophic setback, the loss of years of research in a shipwreck, but disagree on its date. Other sections of the exemplary backmatter include a more-complete overview of her life and additional information about both the paper nautilus and the fields of marine biology and conservation. Stone’s bright illustrations depict an all-White cast; they have the flavor of 20th-century animation, fitting the positive tone of the text. Pair with biographies of Eugenie Clark. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 69.5% of actual size.)

An appealing introduction to a STEM trailblazer. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-24432-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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From the What if You Had . . .? series

Another playful imagination-stretcher.

Markle invites children to picture themselves living in the homes of 11 wild animals.

As in previous entries in the series, McWilliam’s illustrations of a diverse cast of young people fancifully imitating wild creatures are paired with close-up photos of each animal in a like natural setting. The left side of one spread includes a photo of a black bear nestling in a cozy winter den, while the right side features an image of a human one cuddled up with a bear. On another spread, opposite a photo of honeybees tending to newly hatched offspring, a human “larva” lounges at ease in a honeycomb cell, game controller in hand, as insect attendants dish up goodies. A child with an eye patch reclines on an orb weaver spider’s web, while another wearing a head scarf constructs a castle in a subterranean chamber with help from mound-building termites. Markle adds simple remarks about each type of den, nest, or burrow and basic facts about its typical residents, then closes with a reassuring reminder to readers that they don’t have to live as animals do, because they will “always live where people live.” A select gallery of traditional homes, from igloo and yurt to mudhif, follows a final view of the young cast waving from a variety of differently styled windows.

Another playful imagination-stretcher. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781339049052

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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