Science at work in a unique setting.

TRACKING TORTOISES

THE MISSION TO SAVE A GALÁPAGOS GIANT

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 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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

FLASH FACTS

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. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A splendid volume for young adventurers.

SURVIVOR KID

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WILDERNESS SURVIVAL

Based on her work with middle-school students, Long offers lessons on how to stay healthy and out of trouble while awaiting rescue, the same lessons taught to adults in her survival classes.

Her matter-of-fact, no-nonsense tone will play well with young readers, and the clear writing style is appropriate to the content. The engaging guide covers everything from building shelters to avoiding pigs and javelinas. With subjects like kissing bugs, scorpions, snow blindness and “How going to the bathroom can attract bears and mountain lions,” the volume invites browsing as much as studying. The information offered is sometimes obvious: “If you find yourself facing an alligator, get away from it”; sometime humorous: Raccoons will “fight with your dog, steal all your food, then climb up a tree and call you bad names in raccoon language”; and sometimes not comforting: “When alligators attack on land, they usually make one grab at you; if they miss, you are usually safe.” But when survival is at stake, the more information the better, especially when leavened with some wit. An excellent bibliography will lead young readers to a host of fascinating websites, and 150 clipart-style line drawings complement the text.

A splendid volume for young adventurers. (index not seen) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56976-708-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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