Broad of scope and easy on the eyes—but marred by too many errors and oversimplifications.

READ REVIEW

LIFE ON EARTH: SPACE

From the Life on Earth series

From the Big Bang to space toilets, an outer-space Q-and-A with most of the answers hidden beneath multitudinous flaps.

Along with arrays of simply drawn but recognizable spacecraft, scientific gear, and heavenly bodies on, between, and under the large and small flaps on every stiff page, Lozano’s bright cartoon illustrations feature a human cast that is thoroughly diverse in age, gender, and skin color. The narrative content is, unfortunately, less appealing. Alexander asks and answers queries on a great range of subjects—usually accurately and sometimes cleverly (readers wanting to keep the planets in order either by size or by distance from the sun will find mnemonic prompts for both). However, the only telescopes she mentions are optical ones and the only spacecraft or rockets NASA-built, and she implies that Venus is the only planet visible to the naked eye. Moreover, a claim that “Most [meteorites] land in the desert or Antarctica” is nonsensical (perhaps she means that most are found in those locales), and a reference to “Kupier [sic] Belt Objects” isn’t the only sign of sloppy copy editing.

Broad of scope and easy on the eyes—but marred by too many errors and oversimplifications. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-055-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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