An intriguing look at some of world’s oldest organisms and the scientists who study them.

READ REVIEW

EXTREME LONGEVITY

DISCOVERING EARTH'S OLDEST ORGANISMS

Immortality may still be the stuff of legend for humans, but it’s a real possibility for a jellyfish native to the Mediterranean Sea.

Biologists are studying specimens of flora and fauna that live extraordinarily long lives. The longest living human on record is Jean Louise Calment, a Frenchwoman who lived 122 years and 164 days, but that’s nothing compared to the Greenland shark that may live over 500 years. In an accessible, informative text, Kenney (Healing Plants, 2018, etc.) introduces biologists and geneticists who study examples of extreme longevity in the plant and animal kingdoms, such as the possibly 80,000-year-old root system of a colony of male quaking aspens. One potentially immortal specimen is the hydra, a small freshwater animal described as “a simple tube without internal body organs”; the secret to its longevity is that its body is made of stem cells that repair and replace damaged body parts. Kenney discusses the technologies scientists use to determine age and longevity, including DNA sampling, growth rings, and radiocarbon dating, and how scientists are using their discoveries about aged plants and animals to research drugs to promote longevity in humans. High-quality color photographs and clear diagrams help explain the material. Useful for reports or reading for pleasure, this is an engaging and informative volume.

An intriguing look at some of world’s oldest organisms and the scientists who study them. (timeline, source notes, glossary, bibliography, further information, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5124-8372-7

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010).

EXOPLANETS

WORLDS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

An enticing overview of tools, techniques, and discoveries in what the author rightly characterizes “a red-hot field in astronomy.”

Alas; it is perhaps too red-hot. Not only is Kenney’s count of accepted and potential exoplanets (as of May 2016) well out of date already, but her claim that “Wolf-1061” (sic: that’s actually the name of the star and its system) is the nearest Earthlike planet in the habitable “Goldilocks Zone” has been trumped by the recent discovery of a closer candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri. Still, along with describing in nontechnical terms each tool in the researcher’s kit—from space- and ground-based telescopes of various types to instruments that detect subtle stellar wobbles, spectrum changes, microlensing, and other telling signs—the author fills in the historical background of exoplanet research and profiles some of its weirder findings. She also casts side glances at extremophile life on Earth and other, at least tangentially related, topics. The small format gives the assortment of photos, artists’ renditions, diagrams, and generic star fields a cramped look, but readers curious about how researchers could possibly detect such dinky, distant objects as planets belonging to other star systems will come away satisfied and intrigued.

A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010). (index, source notes, bibliography, websites) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0086-1

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

ENDANGERED

From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more