Nothing new here, but nothing that isn’t both feasible and necessary, either.

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47 THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

Boosterish advice for teens and preteens looking for ways to board the eco-wagon and bring along some friends.

Urging readers to “greenify” house, school, car, community and especially themselves, as well as spread the word to peers, ’rents and politicians, Petronis tallies many more than 47 general ways. These range in amount of effort required from bringing rather than buying lunch, plunking a full bottle into the toilet tank to cut down the flush and turning off the ignition before making out to organizing a clothing swap and applying for grants. The book’s thoroughness is to be praised: Kids are exhorted first to buy clothes made with "e-fibers" such as organic cotton, hang them dry instead of putting them in the dryer and then swap or resell them when it's time to move on. Parenthetical page references helpfully take readers to related topics. Though the author is more focused on providing ideas and inspiration than specific nuts and bolts, she does close with pages of source notes, plus a hefty annotated list of organizations with grant providers and sites aimed at teens marked by icons.

Nothing new here, but nothing that isn’t both feasible and necessary, either. (Nonfiction. 11-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9827322-1-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Zest/Orange Avenue

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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Necessary for every library, personal or otherwise.

THE WAY THINGS WORK NOW

As fresh and funny as ever, a classic compendium of physics in action gets a light but needed makeover.

Most of the “Things” here are still working the way they did back in 1988, 1998, and 2004, when the original and the revised editions dropped—but along with sporting new and spruced-up colors, some of the content, notably the section dubbed “The Digital Domain,” has been brought into the 21st century. Thus, the space shuttle and the VCR are no more, the workings of the telephone have been replaced by those of smartphones and telephone networks, and the jump jet has given way to the quadcopter and other types of drones. But the details that made the earlier editions delightful as well as edifying remain. In the illustrations, flights of tiny angels move the “first whoopee cushion” into place, discombobulated woolly mammoths get caught up in silly side business while helping to demonstrate scientific principles, and best of all, Macaulay’s brilliantly designed, engagingly informal diagrams and cutaways bring within the grasp of even casual viewers a greater understanding of the technological wonders of both past and present.

Necessary for every library, personal or otherwise. (index) (Reference. 11-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-82438-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010).

EXOPLANETS

WORLDS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

An enticing overview of tools, techniques, and discoveries in what the author rightly characterizes “a red-hot field in astronomy.”

Alas; it is perhaps too red-hot. Not only is Kenney’s count of accepted and potential exoplanets (as of May 2016) well out of date already, but her claim that “Wolf-1061” (sic: that’s actually the name of the star and its system) is the nearest Earthlike planet in the habitable “Goldilocks Zone” has been trumped by the recent discovery of a closer candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri. Still, along with describing in nontechnical terms each tool in the researcher’s kit—from space- and ground-based telescopes of various types to instruments that detect subtle stellar wobbles, spectrum changes, microlensing, and other telling signs—the author fills in the historical background of exoplanet research and profiles some of its weirder findings. She also casts side glances at extremophile life on Earth and other, at least tangentially related, topics. The small format gives the assortment of photos, artists’ renditions, diagrams, and generic star fields a cramped look, but readers curious about how researchers could possibly detect such dinky, distant objects as planets belonging to other star systems will come away satisfied and intrigued.

A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010). (index, source notes, bibliography, websites) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0086-1

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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