A few slips but overall a brisk and witty grab bag of science words and wonders.

READ REVIEW

WHY CAN'T I FEEL THE EARTH SPINNING?

AND OTHER VITAL QUESTIONS ABOUT SCIENCE

From the creators of Why Is Art Full of Naked People? (2016), a set of equally momentous questions in astronomy, physics, biology, and technology—with pithy answers.

Presented in no discernible order, the several dozen questions range from “What is science?” (“Oh nothing much…science is everything, science is everywhere and science is everything that has ever happened in the whole history of time!”) and “What’s inside a black hole?” to “Can things live on my face?” (Yes.) Doyle goes for an equally casual tone in his short answers, and though he tends to wander off on side tracks, along with picking up some dandy vocabulary (“dendrochronology” “oneirology” “spaghettified”), readers with inquiring minds will come away painlessly filled in on a broad variety of topics. This is not to say that Doyle’s facts are always trustworthy—nitrogen is not a mineral, stars do too move, astronauts don’t float in space because the gravity there is lower than on Earth, 44,000 gallons of rocket fuel isn’t enough to “fill up 42,000 cars”—but they are mostly sound enough. The illustrations are a likewise playful combination of decorative motifs and line drawings of white-faced cartoon human figures by Goble and science art, stills from classic films, stock photos (often comical ones), historical images, museum paintings, and old book illustrations.

A few slips but overall a brisk and witty grab bag of science words and wonders. (index, glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65118-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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