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 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...



With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.



Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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