A super-sized snow celebration by the authors of Cool Woods: A Trip Around the World’s Boreal Forest (2003) includes weather predictions, snow formation, animals in winter, and bits about blizzards, avalanches, and glaciers. There are thumbnail sketches of historic and modern snow studiers, disaster stories, folktales, invented diaries, and tips on saving the environment. They include plenty of delightfully odd facts, too, e.g., “gray jays’ saliva has a glue-like quality, allowing them to stick seeds high up in trees, well above the snow.” There’s some questionable science, such as: “We have winter because the sun has farther to travel to reach north in winter than it does in summer. And that makes the north colder in winter.” It’s not the distance from the sun, though, but the angle of rays that’s important. Drawings by Owl magazine artist Thurman add to the humor and break up too-dense blocks of text. Includes glossary and index, but no sources for folktales or facts. Over-packed, but fun for browsing. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2004

ISBN: 0-88776-670-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2004

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Remarking that ``nothing about the weather is very simple,'' Simon goes on to describe how the sun, atmosphere, earth's rotation, ground cover, altitude, pollution, and other factors influence it; briefly, he also tells how weather balloons gather information. Even for this outstanding author, it's a tough, complex topic, and he's not entirely successful in simplifying it; moreover, the import of the striking uncaptioned color photos here isn't always clear. One passage—``Cumulus clouds sometimes build up into towering masses called cumulus congestus, or swelling cumulus, which may turn into cumulonimbus clouds''—is superimposed on a blue-gray, cloud-covered landscape. But which kind of clouds are these? Another photo, in blue-black and white, shows what might be precipitation in the upper atmosphere, or rain falling on a darkened landscape, or...? Generally competent and certainly attractive, but not Simon's best. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-10546-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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