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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more