Effectively makes the case that we are all biological boardinghouses.

A quick introduction to some of the teeming tenants who call the human body “Home, Sweet Home.”

Squeamish readers may want to go slow: “My name is Demodex and I live on your face!” proclaims one eight-legged micro-critter at the beginning. Led by a preteen lad who poses for internal views, human figures with generically beige skin share space in cartoon illustrations with hordes of mottled, anthropomorphic blobs in diverse bright hues that wave, smile, and scurry busily over magnified interior fleshscapes. Brosnan, rightly pointing out that microbes live “EVERYWHERE” and that there are more of them in our bodies than actual human cells, nods to archaea, fungi, and other types of microscopic life but sticks largely to bacteria as she conducts a tour of the digestive system’s residents. Focusing more on functions than polysyllabic names (though there are plenty of the latter), she mentions pathogens and disease but keeps the tone positive by highlighting the roles common beneficial species play in nutrition, health, and maintaining a balanced intestinal ecosystem. She makes a puzzling claim that viruses cannot “evolve” and offers a woefully incomplete view of manure’s agricultural benefits, in addition to introducing as uncomplicated fact the benefits of probiotics and fecal matter transplants and failing to explore why farmers feel it’s important to feed their animals antibiotics. Still, as a unicellular fellow traveler puts it toward the end, there’s “plenty to chew on” here. This U.K. import’s British spellings and metric measurements remain unaltered.

Effectively makes the case that we are all biological boardinghouses. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-908714-72-5

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Cicada Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020


This low-pressure look at public-waste disposal and small-scale recycling avoids controversy in favor of consciousness-raising.

“An average kitchen-size bag of trash contains enough energy to light a 100-watt lightbulb for more than 24 hours.” Endpapers open and close with this and other unsourced but probably in-the-ballpark statistics. The book proper begins with a basic definition of “trash” and moves on to descriptions and tidy cartoon views of landfills and of collection sites for batteries and other hazardous household waste, then concludes with a few simple suggestions for reducing, reusing and recycling. Meisel’s sunny scenes of adults and children playing in a park laid over a landfill, re-using paper goods, presenting eco-science projects and watching garbage trucks roll by reflect the relaxed tone of Ward’s discourse. If topics like garbage-dump–related groundwater pollution and health issues or industrial- and nuclear-waste disposal receive scant or no attention, newly independent readers will at least come away with the basic notion that reducing trash production is a good idea. This latest entry in the venerable Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series lays some groundwork for promoting responsible use of resources. Save the strident and scarier appeals for later. (website list, composting instructions) (Informational picture book. 7-9)


Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0061687563

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012



The result of this Grammy-nominated harpist’s effort to simplify a complex scientific subject is a medley of environmental...

Pollution, energy use, and simply throwing things away have created a worldwide mess that kids can help clean up with an eight-step action plan.

This well-meant offering introduces the idea of the interconnectedness of human activities and the state of our world. We’re all affected by pollution. Our need for energy results in a variety of current problems: unclean air, melting ice caps, rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns. We should use less. Trash doesn’t vanish; it must be burned or dumped. We should also recycle. This helps save trees, which “eat up pollution.” Colorful, unsophisticated cartoons show a bunny magician who cannot make trash disappear and a diverse array of young people who can. The author’s strong message is undercut by end matter that twice states that “many scientists” consider climate change to be caused by global warming. A National Academy of Sciences survey in 2010 showed an overwhelming consensus: 97 percent. Inspired by her concern for the environment, Kondonassis wrote this when she was unable to find an appropriate  book that would explain to her young daughter why she should care. Too bad she missed Kim Michelle Toft’s The World That We Want (2005) or Todd Parr’s The Earth Book (2010).

The result of this Grammy-nominated harpist’s effort to simplify a complex scientific subject is a medley of environmental tweets. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61608-588-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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