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A marvelous spark for the imagination and motivation to learn more.

What amazing things could be made from the very tiniest building blocks?

Physicist Wade provides an introduction to the science of new and to-be-discovered materials based on nanotechnology. “Everything is made out of something,” she begins, starting with a general, macro look at the world around us. Materials like paper, wood, metal, cotton, glass have different attributes: “light, heavy, strong, or flexible.” The way that atoms, or elements, are “mixed together” creates the attributes of the resulting material. Carbon, a “very important element” in the human body and “in every living thing,” can be found on its own as graphite, as in the soft substance in a pencil. One layer of carbon atoms makes up a new substance called graphene—“the strongest material known to human beings. If you made a tightrope out of graphene, an elephant could walk along it without breaking it.” Castrillón’s whimsical art is intriguingly paired with the subject matter, incorporating both the explanatory and speculative, using fine lines that seem delicate but are also robust—light but muscular, just like the materials Wade describes. Graphene and other nanomaterials have astonishing applications both current (lighter airplanes, self-washing windows) and potential (sieves that could make ocean water drinkable; nervelike connections that could help blind people see). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A marvelous spark for the imagination and motivation to learn more. (further information, index) (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1766-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude.

A deceptively simple, visually appealing, comprehensive explanation of volcanoes.

Gibbons packs an impressive number of facts into this browsable nonfiction picture book. The text begins with the awe of a volcanic eruption: “The ground begins to rumble…ash, hot lava and rock, and gases shoot up into the air.” Diagrams of the Earth’s structural layers—inner and outer core, mantle, and crust—undergird a discussion about why volcanoes occur. Simple maps of the Earth’s seven major tectonic plates show where volcanoes are likeliest to develop. Other spreads with bright, clearly labeled illustrations cover intriguing subtopics: four types of volcanoes and how they erupt; underwater volcanoes; well-known volcanoes and historic volcanic eruptions around the world; how to be safe in the vicinity of a volcano; and the work of scientists studying volcanoes and helping to predict eruptions. A page of eight facts about volcanoes wraps things up. The straightforward, concise prose will be easy for young readers to follow. As always, Gibbons manages to present a great deal of information in a compact form.

Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4569-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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