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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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BRIAN'S RETURN

Paulsen brings the story he began in Hatchet (1987) and continued in the alternate sequels The River (1991) and Brian’s Winter (1996) around to a sometimes-mystical close. Surviving the media coverage and the unwanted attention of other high school students has become more onerous to Brian than his experiences in the wild; realizing that the wilderness has become larger within him than the need to be with people, Brian methodically gathers survival equipment—listed in detail—then leaves his old life behind. It takes some time, plus a brutal fight and sessions with a savvy counselor, before Brian reaches that realization, but once out under the trees, it’s obvious that his attachment to the wild is a permanent one. Becoming ever more attuned to the natural wonders around him, he travels over a succession of lakes and streams, pausing to make camp, howl with a wolf, read Shakespeare to a pair of attentive otters and, once, to share a meal with an old man who talks about animal guides and leaves a medicine bundle for him. Readers hoping for the high adventure of the previous books may be disappointed, as Brian is now so skilled that a tipped canoe or a wild storm are only inconveniences, and even bears more hazard than threat; still, Paulsen bases many of his protagonist’s experiences on his own, and the wilderness through which Brian moves is vividly observed. Afterword. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-385-32500-2

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1998

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