Unabashed edutainment, not deep but glossy as that iceberg’s surface.

READ REVIEW

AWESOME 8

50 PICTURE-PACKED TOP 8 LISTS!

Shaved-down lists of, as the authors put it, “everything the world has to offer,” stocked with eye-widening photos and other embellishments.

Catering to patrons of the Limited-Attention–Span Theater, the authors drop 50 eight-item listicles—all bearing catchy titles like “Eight Ultimate Toilets,” “Eight Righteous Rock Formations,” or “Eight Fearless Foods”—in no particular order, inviting browsers at the outset to dive in anywhere. Human works and natural ones get roughly equal time. Each list fills a single double-page spread, with round- or rectangular-framed photographs of diverse size placed on brightly colored fill, interspersed with one- or two-sentence captions that really bring the fun. Ready to ride Dubai’s “Leap of Faith” water slide? “Climb to the top of a Maya temple replica, then drop 60 feet (18.3 m) before shooting through a clear tunnel in a lagoon stocked with sharks.” For occasional changes of pace, seven list items get expanded ganders on following pages, including, for instance, the “Sailing Stones” of Death Valley (“Eight Wackiest Weather Events”), “Rock Star” volcanologist John Stevenson (“Eight Extreme Occupations”), and, from “Eight Awesome Things in Antarctica,” a rare view of a flipped iceberg’s underside.

Unabashed edutainment, not deep but glossy as that iceberg’s surface. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2337-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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A scrumptious concept but overcooked.

FOOD ATLAS

DISCOVER ALL THE DELICIOUS FOODS OF THE WORLD

Picture the endless variety of foods that make up the world’s menus.

Small, labeled images of various nations’ main food products, including grains, meats, fruits, fish, vegetables, and dairy products, are scattered over 41 country maps and nearby bodies of water. Due to lack of room or perhaps poor design, popular dishes are placed outside the country’s borders, often within the landmass of an adjoining or nearby country, providing very perplexing impressions. For example, the page for Argentina shows the food products (Pampas cattle, sweet potatoes, wheat, etc.) within the Argentine border and the popular dishes (such as the dessert dulce de leche and the “national dish” of asado, “flame-grilled meat”) outside the national border. The inclusion of nonfood marine animals such as whales and dolphins is both unfortunate and confusing. The book is organized by region, and several individual countries are featured in each section. European countries predominate in this Italian import. Minimal coverage is given to the African continent, but unusually, Madagascar is included. The book could be a visual feast, but due to the sheer amount of poorly presented graphic information, it ends up a jumble. The notions of “slow food and slow fish presidiums” are inadequately explained. There is no index and no references, highly inappropriate for this informational text. Readers can browse but cannot easily find information that they may want to revisit.

A scrumptious concept but overcooked. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77085-952-4

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher.

MICROBES

A playful introduction to bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa.

Readers are going to need a basic grounding in cytology from the start, as Gallagher drops such terms as “nucleus” and “organelles” into the discourse without defining them and rushes past plasmids without explaining what they are or do. Likewise, though she fits out all of the jelly-bean–like cells and microbes in her lighthearted illustrations with expressive faces—not to mention occasional limbs, fashion accessories, and hair—she rarely includes recognizable biological components. She’s not particularly systematic either, as she mentions four major components of the human immune system but goes on to describe only two. More usefully, along with frequent mentions of how ubiquitous microbes are, her main focus seems to be laying out microbial types and subtypes, from the five shape-related groups of bacteria to the even more ancient archaea (Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, and Korarchaeota), and describing their individual distinctions and how they reproduce. Polysyllabic as some of this content is, the breezy presentation should impart to general students, as well as budding microbiologists, a nodding acquaintance with our single-celled neighbors and residents.

Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63411-009-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thunderstone Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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