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THIS IS ROCKET SCIENCE

TRUE STORIES OF THE RISK-TAKING SCIENTISTS WHO FIGURE OUT WAYS TO EXPLORE BEYOND EARTH

This brief but engaging chronicle of how rocketry made space travel possible begins 1,000 years ago in China with the invention of “fire arrows.” Skurzynski breezes through the astronomical discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler and the formulation of Newton’s laws of gravity and motion to the late 19th century. After discussing the contributions of rocketry pioneers Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Robert Goddard, Hermann Oberth and Wernher von Braun, the author focuses on the era of space exploration, beginning with the launch of Sputnik and continuing with the ensuing “space race” between the United States and Soviet Union. Important developments such as the Saturn V rocket, space-shuttle program and international space station are highlighted. The concluding chapter discussing NASA’s Ares program and its plan to return to the Moon is already dated by the Obama administration’s recent decision to scrap the program. Abundantly illustrated and attractively designed, readers will find this overview of rocket science informative and appealing. Glossary, index and resources not seen. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4263-0597-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2010

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WEATHER

Remarking that ``nothing about the weather is very simple,'' Simon goes on to describe how the sun, atmosphere, earth's rotation, ground cover, altitude, pollution, and other factors influence it; briefly, he also tells how weather balloons gather information. Even for this outstanding author, it's a tough, complex topic, and he's not entirely successful in simplifying it; moreover, the import of the striking uncaptioned color photos here isn't always clear. One passage—``Cumulus clouds sometimes build up into towering masses called cumulus congestus, or swelling cumulus, which may turn into cumulonimbus clouds''—is superimposed on a blue-gray, cloud-covered landscape. But which kind of clouds are these? Another photo, in blue-black and white, shows what might be precipitation in the upper atmosphere, or rain falling on a darkened landscape, or...? Generally competent and certainly attractive, but not Simon's best. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-10546-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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MONSTER MATH

Miranda’s book counts the monsters gathering at a birthday party, while a simple rhyming text keeps the tally and surveys the action: “Seven starved monsters are licking the dishes./Eight blow out candles and make birthday wishes.” The counting proceeds to ten, then by tens to fifty, then gradually returns to one, which makes the monster’s mother, a purple pin-headed octopus, very happy. The book is surprisingly effective due to Powell’s artwork; the color has texture and density, as if it were poured onto the page, but the real attention-getter is the singularity of every monster attendee. They are highly individual and, therefore, eminently countable. As the numbers start crawling upward, it is both fun and a challenge to try to recognize monsters who have appeared in previous pages, or to attempt to stay focused when counting the swirling or bunched creatures. The story has glints of humor, and in combination with the illustrations is a grand addition to the counting shelf. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-201835-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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