A splendid example of science controversy in everyday life.

READ REVIEW

BEETLE BUSTERS

From the Scientists in the Field series

Will chopping down 33,000 trees in Worcester, Massachusetts, save other forests from the destructive Asian longhorned beetle?

Scientists are trying to answer that question as they battle an invasion that probably began 20 years ago in this central Massachusetts city that sits near the wild, natural forests that stretch north to Maine and beyond. Burns, who began her investigations as a resident of the affected area concerned about losing the trees around her, provides a clear, evenhanded description of this difficult issue. For now, chopping down trees and chipping their wood is the only known way to eradicate the pest. But it takes 30 years for new trees to mature. Is it worth it? The author provides solid background for her readers to ponder this question. Chapter by chapter she introduces the arresting-looking beetle, the trees that host it (more than a dozen species are vulnerable), the team of scientists and foresters working in Worcester, and research efforts in a nearby small forest. She presents data available so far and looks ahead to the likelihood of success in the larger battle across the country. Her narrative is framed by the experience of a teen who saw his favorite forest area cut and has watched it regrow. It’s enhanced by Harasimowicz’s clear photographs.

A splendid example of science controversy in everyday life. (author’s note, resources, glossary, bibliography and acknowledgements, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-547-79267-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead.

THE PERFECT HORSE

THE DARING RESCUE OF HORSES KIDNAPPED DURING WORLD WAR II

Letts adapts her bestselling 2016 work of the same title for young readers.

As World War II sweeps across Europe, the fates of several master horsemen become entwined. In Poland, Andrzej Kristalovich, head of the national stud farm, sees his life’s work disappear when Russian soldiers capture his horses. Nazi Germans, invading next, restore some of the animals in order to breed them for the Third Reich. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Olympic medalist Alois Podhajsky is desperately trying to care for the Lipizzan stallions at the famed Spanish Riding School even as the invading Germans capture the Lipizzan stud farms and move most of the horses to Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, at an American Army base in Kansas, Maj. Hank Reed is overseeing the cavalry’s transition from horses, no longer useful in warfare, to mechanized vehicles. These threads come together at the end of the war when Reed orchestrates a complex rescue of both sets of horses. This is not a particularly successful adaptation. It’s shorter than the original, but both the storyline and timeline are fragmented, making it difficult for the putative audience of 8- to 12-year-olds to follow, and extraneous details fail to advance the main narrative. Aside from a map and archival images (both not seen), there is no timeline or other visual aid to help organize the narrative. Characters are all white.

If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead. (author’s note, characters, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64474-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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BLIZZARD!

THE STORM THAT CHANGED AMERICA

In the same format as his Newbery Honor title The Great Fire (1995), Murphy brings the blizzard of 1888 to life. He shows how military weather-monitoring practices, housing and employment conditions, and politics regarding waste management, transportation monopolies, and utilities regulation, all contributed to—and were subsequently affected by—the disaster. He does so through an appealing narrative, making use of first-hand accounts whose sources he describes in his notes at the end (though, disappointingly he cites nothing directly in the text). The wealth of quotable material made available through the letters of members of “the Society of Blizzard Men and Blizzard Ladies” and other sources help to make the story vivid. Many drawings and photographs (some of the blizzard, but most of related scenes) illustrate the text. These large reproductions are all in a sepia-tone that matches the color of the typeface—an effect that feels over-the-top, but doesn’t detract significantly from the power of the story. Murphy’s ability to pull in details that lend context allows him to tell this story of a place in time through the lens of a single, dramatic episode that will engage readers. This is skillfully done: humorous, jaw-dropping, thought-provoking, and chilling. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-590-67309-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

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