Science at work in a unique setting.

Science researchers work to understand and save the endangered Galápagos tortoises.

The heart of this title by the author of Tracking Pythons (2020) is a vivid account of what she and her photographer son learned on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galápagos Islands in 2019. They accompanied researchers on the island of Santa Cruz who track tortoises using tags, radio trackers, and a lot of challenging hiking. On this island, tortoises migrate from the lowlands to the highlands; scientists investigate why. The Messners visited the Charles Darwin Research Station, where baby tortoises from many different islands are raised to support the dwindling population and where lab scientists compare the DNA of tortoises from both Santa Cruz and Isla Isabela, looking at viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Research, repopulation, education, and conservation efforts all can help restore and save a dwindling population threatened by both humans and climate change. While describing these efforts, author Messner smoothly introduces her readers to the formation and population of this famous archipelago, the way natural selection has played out in those long-isolated islands, the concept of a keystone species, a local field researcher, and the work of scientists both in the lab and in the field. Sidebars and plentiful pictures of the scenery, wildlife, scientists at work, and even, occasionally, the visiting writer break up the text and help readers share their experience.

Science at work in a unique setting. (timeline, glossary, source notes, bibliography, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-9611-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021


Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021


From the Giants of Science series

Hot on the heels of the well-received Leonardo da Vinci (2005) comes another agreeably chatty entry in the Giants of Science series. Here the pioneering physicist is revealed as undeniably brilliant, but also cantankerous, mean-spirited, paranoid and possibly depressive. Newton’s youth and annus mirabilis receive respectful treatment, the solitude enforced by family estrangement and then the plague seen as critical to the development of his thoughtful, methodical approach. His subsequent squabbles with the rest of the scientific community—he refrained from publishing one treatise until his rival was dead—further support the image of Newton as a scientific lone wolf. Krull’s colloquial treatment sketches Newton’s advances in clearly understandable terms without bogging the text down with detailed explanations. A final chapter on “His Impact” places him squarely in the pantheon of great thinkers, arguing that both his insistence on the scientific method and his theories of physics have informed all subsequent scientific thought. A bibliography, web site and index round out the volume; the lack of detail on the use of sources is regrettable in an otherwise solid offering for middle-grade students. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-670-05921-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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