WHAT'S THE POINT OF BEING GREEN?

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

ISAAC NEWTON

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

WICKED BUGS

THE MEANEST, DEADLIEST, GROSSEST BUGS ON EARTH

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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