BLACK HOLES

The subtitle—``A journey to the heart of a black hole—and into one of the greatest mysteries of the universe''—pulls readers into an exciting book on astrophysics, replete with spectacular full-color diagrams and sweeping illustrations. Among the numerous topics: the life cycles of stars; the formation and structure of black holes; detecting black holes from the outside and imagining them from the inside; Newton's and Einstein's theories of gravity; Hawking's theories about exploding black holes; the idea that the universe itself is a black hole. No introduction to black holes would be complete without some science-fiction scenarios, and this book has its share of them: What if an astronaut falls into a black hole? Is there another universe on the other side? Is time travel possible? Accompanied by sharp illustrations that are at once technical and entertaining, the information is presented in fragments- -isolated paragraphs explicate the different parts of the diagrams- -that encourage readers to choose their own paths. With rigorous writing and a good sense of humor, this book will be enjoyed by a wide range of readers. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8+)

Pub Date: May 21, 1996

ISBN: 0-7894-0451-6

Page Count: 46

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1996

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From its enticing, dramatic cover to its brown endpapers to a comical Grant Wood–esque final image, this is a worthy...

THE GREAT AMERICAN DUST BOWL

A graphic-novel account of the science and history that first created and then, theoretically, destroyed the terrifying Dust Bowl storms that raged in the United States during the “dirty thirties.”

“A speck of dust is a tiny thing. Five of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence.” This white-lettered opening is set against a roiling mass of dark clouds that spills from verso to recto as a cartoon farmer and scores of wildlife flee for their lives. The dialogue balloon for the farmer—“Oh my God! Here it comes!”—is the first of many quotations (most of them more informative) from transcripts of eyewitnesses. These factual accounts are interspersed with eloquently simple explanations of the geology of the Great Plains, the mistake of replacing bison with cattle and other lead-ups to the devastations of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. The comic-book–style characters create relief from the relentlessly grim stories of hardship and loss, set in frames appropriately backgrounded in grays and browns. Although readers learn of how the U.S. government finally intervened to help out, the text does not spare them from accounts of crippling droughts even in the current decade.

From its enticing, dramatic cover to its brown endpapers to a comical Grant Wood–esque final image, this is a worthy contribution to the nonfiction shelves. (bibliography, source notes, photographs) (Graphic nonfiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-81550-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Necessary for every library, personal or otherwise.

THE WAY THINGS WORK NOW

As fresh and funny as ever, a classic compendium of physics in action gets a light but needed makeover.

Most of the “Things” here are still working the way they did back in 1988, 1998, and 2004, when the original and the revised editions dropped—but along with sporting new and spruced-up colors, some of the content, notably the section dubbed “The Digital Domain,” has been brought into the 21st century. Thus, the space shuttle and the VCR are no more, the workings of the telephone have been replaced by those of smartphones and telephone networks, and the jump jet has given way to the quadcopter and other types of drones. But the details that made the earlier editions delightful as well as edifying remain. In the illustrations, flights of tiny angels move the “first whoopee cushion” into place, discombobulated woolly mammoths get caught up in silly side business while helping to demonstrate scientific principles, and best of all, Macaulay’s brilliantly designed, engagingly informal diagrams and cutaways bring within the grasp of even casual viewers a greater understanding of the technological wonders of both past and present.

Necessary for every library, personal or otherwise. (index) (Reference. 11-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-82438-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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