Both casual browsers and budding zoologists will light up.

NATURE AT NIGHT

A gallery of luminous natural beauties (not necessarily nocturnal), from puffins to polar lights.

Leading off with a lenticular 3-D cover image of a hawksbill sea turtle glimmering red and green, this (stock) photo gallery spans land, sea, and sky to present 23 lambent wonders—all animals except for the foxfire mushroom and the northern and southern auroras—enhanced by glow-in-the-dark highlights. Even without that gimmick the figures seem luminous against the deep, black backgrounds. Nor is the glow always external; chameleons shine from their very bones; fimbriated moray eels gleam in part from internal organs; and the mushrooms, an orange octopus, and several others in the lineup at least look brightly lit from within. Aside from occasional bobbles, such as a claim that glowworms luminesce as larvae opposite a photo of flashing adults and contradictory observations that polka-dot tree frogs shine either by natural or only in ultraviolet light, Regan’s lucid, specific remarks about how each organism makes and uses its lights are spot-on. Anita Sitarski’s Cold Light (2007) offers less-dazzling photography but makes a natural follow-up since it illuminates a wider range of examples (including light-producing rocks and minerals) in greater detail.

Both casual browsers and budding zoologists will light up. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-2281-0255-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Just the ticket for mechanically curious kids.

MARVELOUS MACHINES

A MAGIC LENS BOOK

A detachable acetate eyepiece lets budding engineers peek into buildings, the inner workings of vehicles from bicycles to submarines, and even a human torso.

Peering through the colored spyglass embedded in the front cover at Lozano’s cartoon scenes makes large areas of red stippling or crosshatching disappear, revealing electrical wiring and other infrastructure in or under buildings, robots at work on an assembly line, the insides of a jet and a container ship, and other hidden areas or facilities. Though younger viewers will get general pictures of how, for instance, internal-combustion (but not electric) cars are propelled, what MRIs and ultrasound scans reveal, and the main steps in printing and binding books, overall the visual detail is radically simplified in Lozano’s assemblages of cartoon images. Likewise, the sheaves of descriptive captions are light on specifics—noting that airplane wings create lift but neglecting to explain just how, say, or why maglev train magnets are supercooled. Still, Wilsher introduces simple machines at the outset (five of the six, anyway), and the ensuing selection of complex ones is current enough to include a spy drone and Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket. Along with displaying a range of skin tones, the human cast of machine users visible in most scenes includes an astronomer wearing a hijab. All in all, it’s a revealing, if sketchy, roll toward David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work Now (2016).

Just the ticket for mechanically curious kids. (Informational novelty. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-912920-20-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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A sketchy teaser in search of an audience.

EDDIE THE ELECTRON MOVES OUT

From the Eddie the Electron series , Vol. 2

A subatomic narrator describes how helium, a nonrenewable resource, is formed deep underground.

The very simple cartoon style of the illustrations suggests a breezier ride than the scientifically challenging content delivers. With much reliance on explanatory endnotes, Rooney sends her zippy narrator—newly freed from a popped balloon (see Eddie the Electron, 2015)—barreling its way past billions of nitrogen and oxygen atoms to the top of the atmosphere. Eddie describes how uranium and thorium trapped in the newly formed planet’s crust self-destructed to leave helium as a stable byproduct. Billions of tedious years later (“I thought I would die of pair annihilation!”) that helium was extracted for a wide variety of industrial uses. Following mentions of Einstein and how Eddie is mysteriously connected to other atoms “in a way that surpasses space and time,” the popeyed purple particle floats off with a plea to cut down on the party balloons to conserve a rare element. Younger readers may find this last notion easier to latch onto than the previous dose of physics, which is seriously marred both by the vague allusions and by Eddie’s identification as a helium atom rather than the free electron that his portrayals in the art, not to mention his moniker, indicate.

A sketchy teaser in search of an audience. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-944995-14-0

Page Count: 27

Publisher: Amberjack Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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