Methodical young scientists will see themselves in the “Father of Microbiology.”

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ALL IN A DROP

HOW ANTONY VAN LEEUWENHOEK DISCOVERED AN INVISIBLE WORLD

In the latter half of the 17th century, Antony van Leeuwenhoek devised his first microscope by cleverly grinding a bit of glass into a near-spherical shape and mounting it into his own custom-made frame.

It would change his world. By grinding his lenses nearly round, he stumbled upon the secret to creating a substantially more powerful microscope than the few then currently in use. With his ability to take a clear look into the microscopic world, he became the first to identify microbes, organisms far too small to be viewed with the naked eye. Although other scientists initially rejected the concept—and he was unwilling to share his microscope design to help them make their own discoveries—an English scientist was later able to replicate his work using his less-sophisticated microscope. Still, Antony’s groundbreaking studies seemed to spark little enthusiasm in others for further research. It would be well over 100 years later that Louis Pasteur finally realized that some microbes caused disease. As Alexander describes him, “Antony watches patiently, thinks deeply, and reports carefully.” By breaking his work down into simple, understandable steps and incorporating Mildenberger’s delicately childlike cartoon illustrations to complement the present-tense narration, this effort makes Antony’s life’s work accessible to a young audience that is sure to be intrigued and inspired. Excellent backmatter rounds out this fascinating tale.

Methodical young scientists will see themselves in the “Father of Microbiology.” (Biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-88420-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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