HOW DID WE FIND OUT ABOUT ANTARCTICA?

The historical approach that marks this Asimov series doesn't give much shape or substance to his introduction to Antarctica—at least if it's Antarctica you want to find out about. Mostly this is a roll call of explorers from the time of Henry the Navigator, each one going a little further than the last one down the coast of Africa—or, later, each one discovering one more island or peninsula in the search for the Southern continent. (For all of this, extra maps might be more useful than the explorer portraits we get.) Before getting down to Amundsen and Scott, we've found out who first stood on the Antarctic continent (American seal hunter John Davis in 1821) and who first did so knowingly and inside the Antarctic circle (Norwegian whaler Leonard Kristenson in 1895). Asimov's last short chapter catalogues life forms in the Antarctic waters and ends with the peculiar hatching habits of the emperor penguin. Peripheral.?

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1980

ISBN: 0380534215

Page Count: -

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1980

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SILVER RAIN BROWN

The hazy hot summer seems interminable for a young African-American boy and his pregnant mother. “Can’t cool down!” is the refrain that reverberates throughout the tale, and it’s literally true; lack of rain has put the city on a water conservation alert and the mother worries about all her flowers. Instead of despairing, mother and child surreptitiously water the plants using kitchen pots under the cloak of darkness; the theme of personal resilience and coping permeates the tale. A cooling, life-giving rain heralds the onset of the mother’s labor and the arrival of a new baby sister, Silver Rain Brown. The special bond between mother and son is readily apparent in Flavin’s full-page, full-color illustrations. As for the father, there is only one reference for readers to interpret: “Four a.m. and I can’t sleep, wishing Daddy would come back, wishing, wishing it would rain.” Helldorfer deftly captures the heavy oppressiveness of a summer heat wave, from children attempting to fry eggs on the sidewalk to short tempers and sleeping the hot days away, while Flavin’s illustrations artfully reflect the shimmering cityscapes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-73093-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1999

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RIVER

In a series of folk-art paintings, Atwell (Barn, 1996) charts an American river’s decline from unspoiled to trash-strewn, then its recovery due to the efforts of concerned people. Although readers may be thrown by the brief text’s vagueness (“They changed the warehouses. They tore down some of the factories. They planted trees. They wanted to share”), the message comes through clearly in the striking riverine scenes, as bright skies and blue waters change to lowering clouds and gray dinginess, then back to idealized views of grassy approaches and families at play. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-93546-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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