Microbes rock! (glossary, index, selected sources) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

All manner of tiny living things are introduced in this generously sized French import.

Organized by habitat, each of 10 double-page spreads includes an extra foldout, on which is printed a clever heading and a lyrical introduction. The flap also holds an inset drawing that includes a magnified detail, which is further enlarged on the double-page spread. Here, detailed ink drawings filled with color allow readers to see the tiniest of creatures magnified by as many as 120 times. The conversational text beneath the foldout describes the numbered creatures in the art, offering facts and vocabulary words galore. Cross-referencing is used frequently; tardigrades, for example, appear in a patch of beach sand as well as a tuft of moss. Among the creepier illustrations is the 55x rendition of microscopic beasts in “The Miniature Jungle of Your Bed,” in which light-gray, louselike dust mites march across the enlarged, lavender fibers of a bedspread even as somewhat larger, different mites prey on them. A female of this latter mite carries a dozen babies on her back while several males busily inject into prey “fluid that paralyzes them and liquifies their insides.” An accessible preface and backmatter emphasize the importance of microbes and introduce both taxonomy and the history of microscopes. Ironically, some of the type could use magnification, which readers will need to provide. Quiet humor balances the ick factor.

Microbes rock! (glossary, index, selected sources) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9999680-1-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019


From the Giants of Science series

Hot on the heels of the well-received Leonardo da Vinci (2005) comes another agreeably chatty entry in the Giants of Science series. Here the pioneering physicist is revealed as undeniably brilliant, but also cantankerous, mean-spirited, paranoid and possibly depressive. Newton’s youth and annus mirabilis receive respectful treatment, the solitude enforced by family estrangement and then the plague seen as critical to the development of his thoughtful, methodical approach. His subsequent squabbles with the rest of the scientific community—he refrained from publishing one treatise until his rival was dead—further support the image of Newton as a scientific lone wolf. Krull’s colloquial treatment sketches Newton’s advances in clearly understandable terms without bogging the text down with detailed explanations. A final chapter on “His Impact” places him squarely in the pantheon of great thinkers, arguing that both his insistence on the scientific method and his theories of physics have informed all subsequent scientific thought. A bibliography, web site and index round out the volume; the lack of detail on the use of sources is regrettable in an otherwise solid offering for middle-grade students. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-670-05921-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006



Entomophobes will find all of this horrifyingly informative.

This junior edition of Stewart’s lurid 2011 portrait gallery of the same name (though much less gleeful subtitle) loses none of its capacity for leaving readers squicked-out.

The author drops a few entries, notably the one on insect sexual practices, and rearranges toned-down versions of the rest into roughly topical sections. Beginning with the same cogent observation—“We are seriously outnumbered”—she follows general practice in thrillers of this ilk by defining “bug” broadly enough to include all-too-detailed descriptions of the life cycles and revolting or deadly effects of scorpions and spiders, ticks, lice, and, in a chapter evocatively titled “The Enemy Within,” such internal guests as guinea worms and tapeworms. Mosquitoes, bedbugs, the ubiquitous “Filth Fly,” and like usual suspects mingle with more-exotic threats, from the tongue-eating louse and a “yak-killer hornet” (just imagine) to the aggressive screw-worm fly that, in one cited case, flew up a man’s nose and laid hundreds of eggs…that…hatched. Morrow-Cribbs’ close-up full-color drawings don’t offer the visceral thrills of the photos in, for instance, Rebecca L. Johnson’s Zombie Makers (2012) but are accurate and finely detailed enough to please even the fussiest young entomologists.

Entomophobes will find all of this horrifyingly informative. (index, glossary, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61620-755-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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