Readers able to navigate a heavy sea of information will enjoy the trip.

READ REVIEW

CAPTAIN AQUATICA'S AWESOME OCEAN

From the Science Superheroes series

An exploration of some of the major features of Earth’s oceans, with interspersed minicomic episodes starring the author as Capt. Aquatica and a great hammerhead shark as her sidekick, Finn.

This third in the Science Superheroes series is presented by a white American researcher, marine conservationist, and National Geographic–funded “Explorer” currently living, working, and advocating for sharks in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. Chapter by chapter, she and her co-authors describe the connected oceans that cover about three-fourths of our planet. They consider water movements and storms; examine the tidal and ocean zones and ocean floor; explain various ecosystems; introduce some sharks; survey the history of underwater exploration; and conclude with a section on environmental threats and what can be done. Text boxes introduce a dozen marine scientists, male and female, from varying times and places; several are people of color. Numerous photos and diagrams with informative captions also help break up a relatively dense text. Speech bubbles in the superhero comic sections separating the chapters are numbered so that readers can easily follow the conversation. For the most part the information is accurate though not always explained clearly. (Describing tides, the writers state that a water bulge also forms on the side of the Earth farthest from the moon “because of inertia.”) The introduction clearly distinguishes the fantasy of the comic sections from the factual exposition.

Readers able to navigate a heavy sea of information will enjoy the trip. (afterword, glossary, index, credits and image credits, resources) (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3292-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike.

ULTIMATE OCEANPEDIA

THE MOST COMPLETE OCEAN REFERENCE EVER

A compendium of all things oceanic, from surface to depths, covering biology, geology, coasts, climatic phenomena, and human use and abuse.

Considering the size of the general topic, the coverage isn’t as shallow as it might be. Hundreds of crisply professional nature photos and big, easy-to-follow charts and diagrams anchor waves of densely packed but often breezy commentary (“Many parrotfish species also make their own sleeping bags at night—out of mucus!”) that Wilsdon pours in beneath such headers as “It’s a Shore Thing” and “Belize It or Not!” Overviews of each ocean, of plate tectonics, the action and effects of ocean currents, worldwide climate change, and physical features from islands to abyssal plains sail by in succession, but marine biology takes pride of place with page after page of photogenic sea life from tiny krill on up to whales and polar bears. The author profiles a marine ecologist and interviews an oceanographer to cap chapters on modern research, exploration, and industries, then closes with generous lists of sites to visit physically or virtually.

A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2550-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead.

THE PERFECT HORSE

THE DARING RESCUE OF HORSES KIDNAPPED DURING WORLD WAR II

Letts adapts her bestselling 2016 work of the same title for young readers.

As World War II sweeps across Europe, the fates of several master horsemen become entwined. In Poland, Andrzej Kristalovich, head of the national stud farm, sees his life’s work disappear when Russian soldiers capture his horses. Nazi Germans, invading next, restore some of the animals in order to breed them for the Third Reich. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Olympic medalist Alois Podhajsky is desperately trying to care for the Lipizzan stallions at the famed Spanish Riding School even as the invading Germans capture the Lipizzan stud farms and move most of the horses to Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, at an American Army base in Kansas, Maj. Hank Reed is overseeing the cavalry’s transition from horses, no longer useful in warfare, to mechanized vehicles. These threads come together at the end of the war when Reed orchestrates a complex rescue of both sets of horses. This is not a particularly successful adaptation. It’s shorter than the original, but both the storyline and timeline are fragmented, making it difficult for the putative audience of 8- to 12-year-olds to follow, and extraneous details fail to advance the main narrative. Aside from a map and archival images (both not seen), there is no timeline or other visual aid to help organize the narrative. Characters are all white.

If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead. (author’s note, characters, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64474-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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