Shortcomings aside, garden projects for preteens are always welcome, and Cornell includes excellent resources for further...

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THE NITTY-GRITTY GARDENING BOOK

FUN PROJECTS FOR ALL SEASONS

Cornell presents gardening basics and a dozen projects, arranged by season.

A six-page introduction establishes good reasons for gardening (producing healthy, colorful food and flowers; providing beneficial habitat for birds and insects). Short overviews begin each section, from spring through winter. Some projects, such as growing a plant from an avocado pit, often appear in children’s gardening books. Others, like making an under-sink compost bin with red worms, are more novel. Each activity includes a list of supplies to gather or purchase and instructions laid out in steps (these range in number from six to 13). Cornell encourages children without garden spaces to create container gardens, gearing several projects especially to them. While the author writes well and with expertise, some quibbles can be pegged to the cramped 48-page length. The introduction contains a section on soil testing that reduces this complex topic to three short paragraphs. The plant hardiness zone map is so reduced in size that it’s undecipherable. The text type's font is small, and some activities contain complicated steps, such as the instructions for double digging a soil plot in the “Birds and Bees Garden” activity. Many ingredient lists call for “1 bag potting soil” but never stipulate what size to buy. Pleasant photographs by Larson are supplemented with clear diagrams and stock photos.

Shortcomings aside, garden projects for preteens are always welcome, and Cornell includes excellent resources for further endeavors. (glossary, bibliography, websites, sources for supplies, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-2647-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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