A charming piece of environmental good news for storytime.

THE BRILLIANT DEEP

REBUILDING THE WORLD'S CORAL REEFS: THE STORY OF KEN NEDIMYER AND THE CORAL RESTORATION FOUNDATION

The story of Ken Nedimeyer’s brilliant idea and his work to restore troubled coral reefs.

Nedimeyer, son of a NASA engineer, grew up exploring Florida’s underwater world. As an adult, he became aware that the coral reefs he had loved were fading, even dying. He experimented with transplanting staghorn corals that had grown in his live rock farm. The transplants grew and became the impetus for his founding of the Coral Restoration Foundation, which now works internationally. Aimed at quite young readers and listeners, Messner’s hopeful tale begins with the one coral gamete that can found a colony and ends with an image of this one man whose efforts have spurred restoration. In between, she touches on how corals grow and form an underwater community and how this white scientist worked with his daughter and others to rebuild the reefs. In Over and Under the Pond (illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, 2017) and other titles aimed at slightly older readers, the author has depicted habitats with convincing details about the animals. Here, it’s the pictures that portray the colorful underwater world; the text places more emphasis on a human’s background and his process. The unusual palette and soft edges of Forsythe’s large-scale illustrations add mystery to the marine world and will show well.

A charming piece of environmental good news for storytime. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3350-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Constrained verse distracts from timely, basic information about transforming food into fuel.

GREEN MACHINE

THE SLIGHTLY GROSS TRUTH ABOUT TURNING YOUR FOOD SCRAPS INTO GREEN ENERGY

An introduction to the innovative (and smelly) processes that turn municipal food waste into electrical energy.

Donnelly follows the journey of food scraps from kitchen through composting bin and collection truck to a municipal digester, where the waste undergoes both human-engineered and microbe-assisted transformations. The author subjects her text to syllabic verse in rhymed triplets, a choice that places meter above clarity. Describing the digester, she writes: “A place where the waste / isn’t wasted: a tank / with the power to power our town, / where trash becomes gas, / and good riddance—that stank! / That’s the power of food breaking down.” Jacques’ illustrations adopt a retro, mid-20th-century look. Cutaways reveal the simplified inner works of the digester tank and electrical generator. Diverse workers are depicted in rather static poses; the featured family members have dark hair, varied brown skin tones, and minimally rendered, dot-and-comma facial features. “Tiny” microbes appear as large, colorful critters with googly eyes and smiles; there’s no indication that in reality they’re invisible to human eyes. A double-page summary (“Follow the Food Energy!”) reuses illustrations from previous pages to illustrate the food-to-electricity process. Within two concluding pages of facts, fossil fuels are characterized as “nonrenewable,” without mention of their dominant role in the climate crisis.

Constrained verse distracts from timely, basic information about transforming food into fuel. (further reading) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30406-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece,...

HUMAN BODY

From the Scratch and Learn series

A very simple guide to (some) human anatomy, with scratch-off patches.

On sturdy board pages two cartoon children—one brown, one a sunburned pink—pose for cutaway views of select anatomical features. In most images certain parts, such as lungs and bladder on the “Organs” spread and both gluteus maximi on “Muscles,” are hidden beneath a black layer that can be removed with the flat end (or more slowly with the pointed one) of a wooden stylus housed in an attached bubble pack. With notable lack of consistency, the names of select organs or areas, with such child-centric additions as “A cut,” or “Poop,” are gathered in bulleted lists and/or placed as labels for arbitrarily chosen items in the pictures. It’s hard to envision younger readers getting more than momentary satisfaction from this, as they industriously scrape away and are invited to learn terms such as “Alveoli” and “Latissimus dorsi” that are, at best, minimally defined or described. Older ones in search of at least marginally systematic versions of the skeletal, sensory, nervous, and other (but not reproductive) systems will be even less satisfied. Even those alive to the extracurricular possibilities of a volume that contains, as one of the two warnings on the rear cover notes, a “functional sharp point,” will be disappointed.

There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece, preschool setting. (Informational novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-323-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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