Attractively designed and engagingly written—sure to appeal to readers with a taste for the scientific and technical.

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SAVE THE CRASH-TEST DUMMIES

This jaunt through the history of car safety engineering reveals that we have both human and mechanical crash-test dummies to thank for making driving much safer than it was a century ago, when cars first became ubiquitous.

The now-familiar crash-test dummy has its origins in Sierra Sam, an anthropomorphic test device invented in 1949 to test aircraft ejection seats for the Air Force. In 1968, a new ATD was created to meet car companies’ needs, designed to enable engineers to see how humans move during a crash. Before ATDs, engineers had to use live animals, human cadavers, and live human volunteers in safety tests. The Hybrid III used for the last 30 years is the type of crash-test dummy designed to survive a frontal impact crash. Hybrid III is full of electronics, including “accelerometers, potentiometers, and load cells,” which convey information to engineers that aids them in designing safer cars. In addition to discussing such car safety developments as bumpers, brakes, seat belts, and air bags, Swanson fills her narrative with other fascinating nuggets of automotive history and explanations of how cars work, with helpful accompanying diagrams. She concludes with a look at autonomous cars. Grooms’ illustrations add both touches of humor and visual clarity; they are complemented by archival images.

Attractively designed and engagingly written—sure to appeal to readers with a taste for the scientific and technical. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68263-022-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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