THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS AND THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE

Flamboyant as ever, the indefatigable Ms. Frizzle shepherds her young charges on a globe-spanning tour that starts in the melting Arctic, ends back in a greener classroom and in between lays out the process and hazards of the greenhouse effect before going into eco-friendly, energy-saving technological and lifestyle changes. As usual, Degen festoons his busy pictures with the Friz’s students taking it all in—here donning “microscope goggles” to check out CO2 molecules, riding sunbeams down to Earth, flying over leaky homes and factories, and making comments (“By the time we grow up...” / “... it may be called Glacier-LESS National Park,” exclaim two students, while gesturing to an icy 1932 image juxtaposed against a barren one from today). Flutters of one- or two-sentence handwritten sidebars in the form of the students’ written reports provide further information. It’s a tested formula that’s still as effective as ever for cluing in younger readers with a mix of instruction and droll side remarks. The bus isn’t even close to running out of gas yet—particularly as it’s now a hybrid. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-590-10826-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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The story feels a bit contrived, but Ada will be a welcome addition to the small circle of science-loving girls in the...

ADA LACE, ON THE CASE

From the Ada Lace series , Vol. 1

Using science and technology, third-grader Ada Lace kicks off her new series by solving a mystery even with her leg in a cast.

Temporarily housebound after a badly executed bungee jump, Ada uses binoculars to document the ecosystem of her new neighborhood in San Francisco. She records her observations in a field journal, a project that intrigues new friend Nina, who lives nearby. When they see that Ms. Reed’s dog, Marguerite, is missing, they leap to the conclusion that it has been stolen. Nina does the legwork and Ada provides the technology for their search for the dognapper. Story-crafting takes a back seat to scene-setting in this series kickoff that introduces the major players. As part of the series formula, science topics and gadgetry are integrated into the stories and further explained in a “Behind the Science” afterword. This installment incorporates drones, a wireless camera, gecko gloves, and the Turing test as well as the concept of an ecosystem. There are no ethnic indicators in the text, but the illustrations reveal that Ada, her family, and bratty neighbor Milton are white; Nina appears to be Southeast Asian; and Mr. Peebles, an inventor who lives nearby, is black.

The story feels a bit contrived, but Ada will be a welcome addition to the small circle of science-loving girls in the chapter-book world. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8599-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.

OVER AND UNDER THE WAVES

From the Over and Under series

In a new entry in the Over and Under series, a paddleboarder glimpses humpback whales leaping, floats over a populous kelp forest, and explores life on a beach and in a tide pool.

In this tale inspired by Messner’s experiences in Monterey Bay in California, a young tan-skinned narrator, along with their light-skinned mom and tan-skinned dad, observes in quiet, lyrical language sights and sounds above and below the sea’s serene surface. Switching perspectives and angles of view and often leaving the family’s red paddleboards just tiny dots bobbing on distant swells, Neal’s broad seascapes depict in precise detail bat stars and anchovies, kelp bass, and sea otters going about their business amid rocky formations and the swaying fronds of kelp…and, further out, graceful moon jellies and—thrillingly—massive whales in open waters beneath gliding pelicans and other shorebirds. After returning to the beach at day’s end to search for shells and to spot anemones and decorator crabs, the child ends with nighttime dreams of stars in the sky meeting stars in the sea. Appended nature notes on kelp and 21 other types of sealife fill in details about patterns and relationships in this rich ecosystem. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79720-347-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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