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NATURE IS A SCULPTOR

WEATHERING AND EROSION

An impressive STEM read-aloud.

Admire nature’s awesome artistry.

The author of a book of microscopic images—Small Matters (2020)—turns to nature on a much larger scale here. Combining stunning stock photographs with rhythmic, poetic lines, Kinser has created a work that will have readers and listeners eager to travel to national parks and protected areas around the world. She shows and tells how—through weathering, erosion, and deposition—water, ice, and wind create amazing natural features such as Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California, and a hoodoo in Goblin Valley State Park, Utah. Further afield, she includes photographs of Split Apple Rock, just offshore in New Zealand, and amazing rock striations created by the Russell Glacier in Greenland. The verse contains rhymes and a pleasing repetition of vowel sounds; the rhythm is steady and inexorable—appropriate to the long-term processes it describes. The language is filled with active verbs (“etches, scrapes, and carves,” “shapes and shaves”) and apt figurative language—ice is compared to a “grinder,” and a windstorm is referred to as a “rugged file.” Through both words and images, Kinser makes unfamiliar formation names like tafone easy to understand. The backmatter includes more detail about processes as well as a glossary. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An impressive STEM read-aloud. (further reading, websites) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781728477190

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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I AM GRAVITY

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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OVER AND UNDER THE WAVES

From the Over and Under series

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.

In a new entry in the Over and Under series, a paddleboarder glimpses humpback whales leaping, floats over a populous kelp forest, and explores life on a beach and in a tide pool.

In this tale inspired by Messner’s experiences in Monterey Bay in California, a young tan-skinned narrator, along with their light-skinned mom and tan-skinned dad, observes in quiet, lyrical language sights and sounds above and below the sea’s serene surface. Switching perspectives and angles of view and often leaving the family’s red paddleboards just tiny dots bobbing on distant swells, Neal’s broad seascapes depict in precise detail bat stars and anchovies, kelp bass, and sea otters going about their business amid rocky formations and the swaying fronds of kelp…and, further out, graceful moon jellies and—thrillingly—massive whales in open waters beneath gliding pelicans and other shorebirds. After returning to the beach at day’s end to search for shells and to spot anemones and decorator crabs, the child ends with nighttime dreams of stars in the sky meeting stars in the sea. Appended nature notes on kelp and 21 other types of sealife fill in details about patterns and relationships in this rich ecosystem. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79720-347-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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