Quibbles aside, this engaging volume’s strength—homing in on plants’ specific regenerative properties—should spark STEM...

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DIG IN!

12 EASY GARDENING PROJECTS USING KITCHEN SCRAPS

In this companion to The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book (2015), Cornell offers 12 gardening projects for preteens, focusing here on the regenerative power of plants and their parts.

An introduction provides garden basics: the needs of plants, the role of pH, U.S. plant hardiness zones, and pollination. The four subsequent chapters are organized by type of propagation: sprouts from root ends; roots from cuttings; fostering growth from tubers, bulbs, and rhizomes; and planting saved seeds. Projects include sprouting romaine lettuce leaves, rooting herb cuttings, planting a ginger rhizome, and starting pepper and pumpkin plants from saved seeds. Ten nicely chosen (and delicious-sounding) recipes incorporate project ingredients—though most will require additional, store-bought items. Attractive photographs and clear drawings highlight step-by-step processes and the often modest growth of the propagated plants. (Cornell encourages patience; many projects require several weeks of monitoring.) A few missteps affect the overall package. State boundaries are difficult to discern on the hardiness map. While recommending organic produce (which is free of chemicals that inhibit sprouting), Cornell omits any discussion of hybrids, which, if propagated from seed, won’t likely resemble the parent. Recipes lack yields and sometimes omit cautions regarding knife use.

Quibbles aside, this engaging volume’s strength—homing in on plants’ specific regenerative properties—should spark STEM projects and home gardening fun, whether in a backyard or on an apartment windowsill. (glossary, print and web resources, supply sources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5124-3065-3

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A scrumptious concept but overcooked.

FOOD ATLAS

DISCOVER ALL THE DELICIOUS FOODS OF THE WORLD

Picture the endless variety of foods that make up the world’s menus.

Small, labeled images of various nations’ main food products, including grains, meats, fruits, fish, vegetables, and dairy products, are scattered over 41 country maps and nearby bodies of water. Due to lack of room or perhaps poor design, popular dishes are placed outside the country’s borders, often within the landmass of an adjoining or nearby country, providing very perplexing impressions. For example, the page for Argentina shows the food products (Pampas cattle, sweet potatoes, wheat, etc.) within the Argentine border and the popular dishes (such as the dessert dulce de leche and the “national dish” of asado, “flame-grilled meat”) outside the national border. The inclusion of nonfood marine animals such as whales and dolphins is both unfortunate and confusing. The book is organized by region, and several individual countries are featured in each section. European countries predominate in this Italian import. Minimal coverage is given to the African continent, but unusually, Madagascar is included. The book could be a visual feast, but due to the sheer amount of poorly presented graphic information, it ends up a jumble. The notions of “slow food and slow fish presidiums” are inadequately explained. There is no index and no references, highly inappropriate for this informational text. Readers can browse but cannot easily find information that they may want to revisit.

A scrumptious concept but overcooked. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77085-952-4

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher.

MICROBES

A playful introduction to bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa.

Readers are going to need a basic grounding in cytology from the start, as Gallagher drops such terms as “nucleus” and “organelles” into the discourse without defining them and rushes past plasmids without explaining what they are or do. Likewise, though she fits out all of the jelly-bean–like cells and microbes in her lighthearted illustrations with expressive faces—not to mention occasional limbs, fashion accessories, and hair—she rarely includes recognizable biological components. She’s not particularly systematic either, as she mentions four major components of the human immune system but goes on to describe only two. More usefully, along with frequent mentions of how ubiquitous microbes are, her main focus seems to be laying out microbial types and subtypes, from the five shape-related groups of bacteria to the even more ancient archaea (Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, and Korarchaeota), and describing their individual distinctions and how they reproduce. Polysyllabic as some of this content is, the breezy presentation should impart to general students, as well as budding microbiologists, a nodding acquaintance with our single-celled neighbors and residents.

Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63411-009-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thunderstone Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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