An exciting, informative introduction to medical research, the work of Jonas Salk, and the man himself.

THE POLIO PIONEER

Portrait of a hero, scientist, and dreamer.

As a child, Jonas Salk saw things from a unique perspective. While his friends played games, he preferred to read but was called to act as a referee because of his awareness and evenhandedness. While others rejoiced at the end of World War I, he saw the soldiers who had sustained injuries. Growing up as an observant Jew whose family had fled Russian persecution, “Jonas prayed that he might, someday, help make the world a better place.” Appealing illustrations and accessible text show how Salk, as an adult, pursued the same ideals through his work as a doctor and researcher, eventually working as a young researcher to help create the first flu vaccine and later, famously, the polio vaccine. This timely, quickly paced selection is straightforward, showing the value of research, experimentation, hard work, and testing while presenting Salk’s dedication and accomplishments within the context of the epidemics he sought to control. Though the text skimps a bit on the role of trial and error in experimentation, this tale of a quiet hero is engaging and enlightening as it celebrates Salk’s accomplishments while showcasing the attributes and attitudes that led to his success.

An exciting, informative introduction to medical research, the work of Jonas Salk, and the man himself. (author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-64651-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Not the duo’s best, but fans will enjoy the effort.

THERE WAS AN OLD SCIENTIST WHO SWALLOWED A DINOSAUR!

From the There Was an Old Lady series

“There was an old scientist who swallowed a dinosaur. / I don’t know why she swallowed a dinosaur, but she went to explore.”

She swallows a fern to feed the saurian, then a rock and a pick and a dustpan. In between the old scientist’s gastronomical feats, two children, one tan-skinned and one light-skinned—ask each other questions or spout facts about dinosaurs and paleontology. “Fossils are rocks containing traces of the past.” “Evidence of plants and animals built to last!” The book, the latest of Colandro’s many takes on the “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” song, closes with the old scientist, the kids, and the dinosaurs visiting a museum of natural history. With a rhyme scheme that is often as strained as the conceit of the voracious old lady, Colandro makes another foray into nonfiction that is relatively light on facts (previous titles have explored holidays, the seasons, astronomy, and undersea life). Lee is again along to offer his signature bug-eyed and scribbly illustrations that can be a bit unnerving at times. The children’s rhyming banter in speech bubbles interrupts the old lady patter, making the whole at once familiar and clunky. Paleo facts and a scavenger hunt at the end might add to the instruction and the fun respectively. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not the duo’s best, but fans will enjoy the effort. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-66840-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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