Amusing but depthless and even misleading.

READ REVIEW

SEEK & FIND BIOMES

TUNDRA, ALPINE, FOREST, RAINFOREST, SAVANNA, GRASSLAND, DESERT, FRESHWATER, MARINE

A Where’s Waldo? of the natural world.

Readers are introduced to nine different biomes using a sleek seek-and-find approach to learning. In the introduction, Peterson tackles the question of biomes by informing the reader that “not everyone agrees on how many biomes there are. Some scientists classify biomes broadly, and others are more precise.” Unfortunately, there isn’t a bibliography or reading list for future ecologists eager to learn more. Each biome is presented on a double-page spread, with three small paragraphs of description capped by an open-ended question for readers to ponder. At the bottom of this column is a key to a seek-and-find game embedded in gutter-spanning, stylized linear art. The game is amusing, but what appears to be playful misdirection might lead to more questions than answers when considering biomes: For example, why is the forest biome’s wolverine repeated in the savanna? Does the bobac marmot of the Eurasian steppes also live in Canada’s tundra, as the illustrations suggest? Caregivers will find themselves doing a lot of research to help answer the ecosystem of questions that will follow a read. The multipage glossary at the end provides a bit more about the plants and animals found in the search, with three to four lines of description each.

Amusing but depthless and even misleading. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4236-5403-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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This lighthearted addition to the STEM shelf encourages children to question, hypothesize, experiment, and observe.

IT'S A ROUND, ROUND WORLD!

From the Joulia Copernicus series

In a confident first-person narrative, young scientist Joulia Copernicus debunks the story that Columbus “proved Earth is round.”

Informing readers that Columbus knew this fact, and so did most people of his time, Joulia also points out that “Ancient Greek, Islamic, and Indian scholars theorized that Earth was round WAY before Columbus’s time.” Confident Joulia explains how Columbus, shown as a haughty captain in the humorous, cartoon illustrations, and his fellow mariners confirmed Earth was round by discerning “that when ships sail away from you, they seem to disappear from the bottom. When they sail toward you, they appear from the top. On a flat Earth, you’d see the entire ship the entire time.” The accompanying illustrations, almost like animation cels, provide the visuals readers need to confirm these assertions. Joulia also turns to astronomy. A lunar eclipse is the highlight of a double-page spread with a large yellow sun, a personified blue and green Earth wearing sunglasses, and the moon moving in iterations through the Earth’s shadow. This shows readers that the Earth’s shadow is “ROUND!” Joulia has straight, brown hair and pale skin and is almost always the only human in any given illustration. It’s great to see a young woman scientist, but it’s too bad there’s not more diversity around her. Two experiments stimulate further exploration.

This lighthearted addition to the STEM shelf encourages children to question, hypothesize, experiment, and observe. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63592-128-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: StarBerry Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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