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From the Orca Footprints series , Vol. 27

Showing how refuse harms humans and other animals, this work should move readers to act.

Waste out of place is both ugly and hazardous, but kids can combat it.

How does litter hurt animals? How is this problem being tackled? How can I help? Galat sets out to answer these questions clearly and convincingly. She explains how manufactured or natural discards can produce pollution and contribute to climate change. Encountering our refuse—whether organic, processed, or inedible (metal, plastic, latex, medical masks, and other litter)—can be toxic, injurious, habituating, and disease-promoting for wildlife. Pets’ uncollected waste poisons waterways, as does roadside debris. And cleaning up can be expensive. But Galat focuses throughout on solutions, often spotlighting young activists. Captions and sidebars offer information and practical steps. “True or false?” challenges will engage readers. Much of the text advocates prevention, like avoiding plastics and not burying or burning trash. One chapter is devoted to local and global anti-trash efforts by kids, by governments, and by organizations as well as via several mechanical inventions. While asking consumers to research products’ specific type of biodegradability is probably not as constructive as demanding better regulation and labeling, this suggestion is the rare exception in a book that champions effective action. Vibrant color photos (of both animals and diverse people) and lively design layouts with discrete, digestible bits of text make the book accessible and inspiring.

Showing how refuse harms humans and other animals, this work should move readers to act. (resources, glossary, index) (Illustrated nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 16, 2023

ISBN: 9781459831827

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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