An intriguing tale of feminism, scientific exploration, imagination, focus, and resilience.

OCEAN SPEAKS

HOW MARIE THARP REVEALED THE OCEAN'S BIGGEST SECRET

A scientific journey through sexism and across the ocean floor.

Marie Tharp (1920-2006) grew up fascinated with the natural world but as a girl was not allowed to study it. The accessible text focuses on general rather than specific historical detail but provides overall context; when war broke out and women were encouraged to learn about science, she welcomed the opportunity and eventually landed a job in a laboratory. As male scientists returned home, however, they were sent to do research while women such as Tharp were confined to desks. But Tharp was charged with creating a map of the ocean floor, a project that engaged her skills and imagination and led to her identification of a great rift, information that was initially dismissed as “girl-talk” and eventually revolutionized earth science. Engaging and inventive illustrations, including one fabulous foldout that depicts her expanding map, show her gradually becoming the skilled scientist and ocean cartographer she is recognized as today. Tharp presents white and race goes unmentioned, though there are darker-skinned people depicted in the background. The narrative doesn’t mention what Keating places in her author’s note: that when findings were first published, Tharp received little or no credit. Still this is a story that will doubtlessly inspire curiosity and consideration of the many forms of exploration and scientific inquiry while showing how one woman was able create new knowledge despite sexist constraints.

An intriguing tale of feminism, scientific exploration, imagination, focus, and resilience.  (Q&A, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6508-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SPACE AND OTHER GALACTIC FACTS!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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