A bubbly blast of science and common sense, timely as well as timeless.

READ REVIEW

HOW DOES SOAP CLEAN YOUR HANDS?

THE SCIENCE BEHIND HEALTHY HABITS

A recipe for health-conscious behavior, with some currently applicable additions.

The author and illustrator of How Do Molecules Stay Together? (2019) range beyond the title’s implied focus to deliver standard-issue remarks on the benefits of trying for a better balance of food groups while getting plenty of sleep and exercise. Especially timely material, however, includes urging readers to “do a dab” for coughs and sneezes, practice “social distancing,” and especially to wash hands both often and long enough for a double chorus of “Happy Birthday.” Along with explaining how soap’s hydrophilic and hydrophobic ingredients help wash off what she redundantly refers to as “germs and bacteria” (viruses get separate mention), Hayes describes the differences between vaccines and what she calls “symptoms medications” and “Treatment medications.” Also, though the current pandemic isn’t mentioned, some of the leering microbes in the cartoon-style illustrations at least resemble coronaviruses. Occasional slides into drollery, notably a suggestion that sleep builds brain power because “little elf librarians” sneak into bedrooms at night to share books (“unfortunately, that has never been proven”), lighten the message, as do a racially diverse array of human figures, nearly all of which are children or doctors, who dance energetically throughout, gesticulating broadly and repeatedly demonstrating “doing the dab” for those who aren’t in the know. A simple, soapy experiment and a smoothie recipe add hands-on elements. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 65% of actual size.)

A bubbly blast of science and common sense, timely as well as timeless. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4867-2073-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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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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