A breeze through a subject often covered in the primary grades. Pair with Vicki Cobb and Julia Gorton’s I Face the Wind...

WHAT ON EARTH? WIND

EXPLORE, CREATE AND INVESTIGATE

A multifaceted invitation to young readers to explore, create, and investigate the phenomenon of wind.

As part of a new series with an interdisciplinary approach to learning about our world, this combines reading with doing, offering facts and explanations, an Abenaki legend and Greek ideas about the wind, and two cheerful, original poems. Thomas explains that warm air rises, introduces the Beaufort scale, and discusses storms, wind chill, wind-dispersed seeds, and wind energy. She invites readers to investigate and create with crafty projects and poems of their own. Projects use familiar materials such as plastic bottles and straws and have clear directions. Templates are provided but some adult help is advised. The explanations are simple, sometimes too much so. Wind doesn’t really “push” sailboats, though it would push the wind-powered vehicle that is one of the projects. Many of the botanical examples will be unfamiliar to American readers. Each spread covers a single topic or project. Information and step-by-step directions are supplied in colorful text boxes, and plentiful flat graphics include children with various hair and skin colors (and almost universally red noses) as well as two world maps as background for facts about wind around the world. A companion volume, What on Earth? Water, follows a similar format.

A breeze through a subject often covered in the primary grades. Pair with Vicki Cobb and Julia Gorton’s I Face the Wind (2003). (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68297-018-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF PLANET EARTH

Flaps, pull tabs, and pop-ups large and small enhance views of our planet’s inside, outside, atmosphere, biosphere, and geophysics.

It’s a hefty, high-speed tour through Earth’s features, climates, and natural resources, with compressed surveys of special topics on multileveled flaps and a spread on the history of life that is extended by a double-foldout wing. But even when teeming with small images of land forms, wildlife, or diverse groups of children and adults, Balicevic’s bright cartoon illustrations look relatively uncrowded. Although the quality of the paper engineering is uneven, the special effects add dramatic set pieces: Readers need to hold in place a humongous column of cumulonimbus clouds for it to reach its full extension; a volcano erupts in a gratifyingly large scale; and, on the plate-tectonics spread, a pull tab gives readers the opportunity to run the Indian Plate into the Eurasian one and see the Himalayas bulge up. A final spread showing resources, mostly renewable ones, being tapped ends with an appeal to protect “our only home.” All in all, it’s a likely alternative to Dougal Jerram’s Utterly Amazing Earth, illustrated by Dan Crisp and Molly Lattin (2017), being broader in scope and a bit more generous in its level of detail.

It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 979-1-02760-562-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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