A well-written tribute to a deserving champion of science.

BUZZING WITH QUESTIONS

THE INQUISITIVE MIND OF CHARLES HENRY TURNER

A thorough biography of early African American scientist Charles Henry Turner.

From a young age, “questions hopped through…Turner’s mind like grasshoppers.” His teacher encouraged him to “go and find out,” and that is what he spent his life doing. He attended college when most colleges didn’t accept African Americans, and he kept asking questions as he studied biology. The “indefatigable scientist” studied spiders: Two spreads explain how he learned that “each spider wove a web just right for its home.” He studied crustaceans and ants, bees and moths. His significant findings are explained both in the illustrations and in the lucid paragraphs of text that describe the experiments and his conclusions. The importance of his findings in the field is made clear, and the curiosity and hard work that led to them are the focus. One spread mentions the racial prejudice he lived through and his service to the community. His work is cast in the light of uplifting humanity: “He wrote that biology could help people see the connections among all living things.” The digital illustrations depict people, creatures, and experiments in thick black lines and swaths of color that help readers understand the science being discussed. This extensively researched, jam-packed text intrigues and inspires with Turner’s example of discovery and hard-won, meaningful contributions to knowledge about life.

A well-written tribute to a deserving champion of science. (author’s note, timeline, sources, notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62979-558-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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