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Colorful, clear, and chock-full of information, this book invites readers to dive in.

Humans and the sea: the past, present, and possible future.

From the timeline (8000 B.C.E.-2020 C.E.), inventively depicted as a winding path interspersed with images, to examinations of global myths and those who explored the seas, this book merges informative text and dynamic graphics to tell the exciting story of oceans and how we use (and abuse) them. How are waves formed? How many species of animals and plants live in the oceans? How deep is the ocean? Arbuthnott lucidly explains ocean-related technology such as submarines, marine biology, and some physics and geology. Her coverage of scientists, explorers, and other individuals is inclusive; she discusses women scientists like Marie Tharp, Gloria Hollister, Jeanne Baret, and Asha de Vos; Japanese pearl divers; the Inuit historian Louie Kamookak; and others. Descriptions of those who sought to salvage treasures from shipwrecks are as compelling as details of the treasures of sea-borne knowledge. As in her other guides, Arbuthnott balances accuracy and entertainment. The anecdotes are fascinating, complemented by Nielsen’s dramatic illustrations; an account of a routine 1939 submarine test dive that went horribly wrong, illustrated with graphic novel–style panels, is especially gripping.

Colorful, clear, and chock-full of information, this book invites readers to dive in. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2974-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Big Picture Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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