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

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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

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With breezy text and lively graphics featuring a mixed group of young people, this book answers its title question by discussing climate change, pollution, exploitation of natural resources, waste, hunger and the impact of human actions on wildlife. Topics are addressed in chapters titled with questions—“What’s the problem?” “But what about cars?” and “Why are trees important?”—and statements—“Boy, have we messed up!” The answers weave in historical background, clear explanations of the problems and some solutions. This is a more substantive treatment of the issues than its bouncy design might suggest. Sprinkled throughout are one-line eco-tips, summarized toward the end in “5 best ways to make a difference.” From time to time, boxes labeled “FACT!” offer interesting statistics and comparisons, although few sources are mentioned. A lengthy list of organizations and websites, a glossary (of words bolded in the text) and a useful index complete the package. First published in England, this emphasizes the need for international cooperation and offers a refreshing approach to a topic that is not going away. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7641-4427-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2010

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