Sheds plenty of light into dark places, but best for flip-through browsing, as the tunneling goes in arbitrary directions.

UNDERWORLD

EXPLORING THE SECRET WORLD BENEATH YOUR FEET

A scattershot but revealing dig beneath our planet’s surface, illustrated with a mix of photos and schematic cutaways.

The book opens with a cross-section of the Earth’s crust showing multiple geological processes, from fossil-strewn continental plates sliding together to columns of rising magma (rendered, oddly, in magenta). The tour goes on past subterranean sights from prehistoric and Pompeian remnants to natural caves and cave life, tombs, urban infrastructure and underground cities, and other structures. Price adds introductory paragraphs and explanatory captions to each busy spread. The captions are numbered on some spreads, which compensates, at least in part, for the way the photos are often slapped down over or next to the drawings without much regard for visual unity or logical progression. Topical coverage and level of detail are likewise unsystematic—the naked mole rat gets one full spread while all other burrowing animals are crowded onto another, for instance. Of major city undergrounds, only those of Paris and Tokyo get a look, and a closing spread on the future of building beneath the surface suddenly moves…to Mars.

Sheds plenty of light into dark places, but best for flip-through browsing, as the tunneling goes in arbitrary directions. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-894786-89-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.

EXPLORING SPACE

FROM GALILEO TO THE MARS ROVER AND BEYOND

Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark.

DARK MATTERS

NATURE'S REACTION TO LIGHT POLLUTION

Reflections on the ways that artificial light upsets patterns and behaviors in the natural world.

Galat (Stories of the Aurora,2016, etc.) spins childhood memories into semifictive reminiscences. Between recalling lying on her back in the snow at 10 to trace the Big Dipper and describing links between light pollution and several environmental issues as a grown-up naturalist, the author recalls camping trips and other excursions at various ages. These offer, at least tangentially, insights into how artificial lighting could affect nocturnal insects, sea turtle hatchlings, bats, and migratory birds, as well as the general hunting, mating, and nesting behaviors of animals. She closes, after a quick mention of scotobiology (the study of life in darkness), with a plea to turn off the lights whenever possible. Though she does not support this general appeal with specific practices or, for that matter, source notes for her information, she does offer a list of internet search terms for readers who want to explore the topic further. Despite illustrations that range from a close-up of a road-kill raccoon to pointless filler and passages that, paradoxically, are hard to read except in bright light because they’re printed over speckled fields of stars, this outing covers a topic that should be of interest to young stargazers and scotobiologists alike.

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88995-515-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more