From the Science Superheroes series

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

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 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019


Wordplay and wry wit put extra fun into a trove of fundamental knowledge.

With an amped-up sense of wonder, the Science Guy surveys the natural universe.

Starting from first principles like the scientific method, Nye and his co-author marvel at the “Amazing Machine” that is the human body then go on to talk up animals, plants, evolution, physics and chemistry, the quantum realm, geophysics, and climate change. They next venture out into the solar system and beyond. Along with tallying select aspects and discoveries in each chapter, the authors gather up “Massively Important” central concepts, send shoutouts to underrecognized women scientists like oceanographer Marie Tharp, and slip in directions for homespun experiments and demonstrations. They also challenge readers to ponder still-unsolved scientific posers and intersperse rousing quotes from working scientists about how exciting and wide open their respective fields are. If a few of those fields, like the fungal kingdom, get short shrift (one spare paragraph notwithstanding), readers are urged often enough to go look things up for themselves to kindle a compensatory habit. Aside from posed photos of Nye and a few more of children (mostly presenting as White) doing science-y things, the full-color graphic and photographic images not only reflect the overall “get this!” tone but consistently enrich the flow of facts and reflections. “Our universe is a strange and surprising place,” Nye writes. “Stay curious.” Words to live by.

Wordplay and wry wit put extra fun into a trove of fundamental knowledge. (contributors, art credits, selected bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4676-5

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020



“In 1875 there were perhaps fifty million of them. Just twenty-five years later nearly every one of them was gone.” The author of many nonfiction books for young people (Bridges; Truck; Giants of the Highways, etc.) tells the story of the American bison, from prehistory, when Bison latifrons walked North America along with the dinosaurs, to the recent past when the Sioux and other plains Indians hunted the familiar bison. Robbins uses historic photographs, etchings, and paintings to show their sad history. To the Native Americans of the plains, the buffalo was central to their way of life. Arriving Europeans, however, hunted for sport, slaughtering thousands for their hides, or to clear the land for the railroad, or farmers. One telling photo shows a man atop a mountain of buffalo skulls. At the very last moment, enough individuals “came to their senses,” and worked to protect the remaining few. Thanks to their efforts, this animal is no longer endangered, but the author sounds a somber note as he concludes: “the millions are gone, and they will never come back.” A familiar story, well-told, and enhanced by the many well-chosen period photographs. (photo credits) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83025-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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