Sharp extraterrestrial inquiry—and a lesson in not judging a book by its cover.

READ REVIEW

THE ALIEN HUNTER'S HANDBOOK

HOW TO LOOK FOR EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL LIFE

A surprisingly thorough and accessible journey into the possibilities of life outside of planet Earth.

It must be a marketing strategy, for both the title and the cover of Brake’s book lead one to think this will be a jokester-ish foray into intergalactic bioweirdness. And the design—with its hot colors and snippets of text housed in tons of boxes and drawings of aliens with eyes on stalks or eyes like licorice Necco wafers—suggests whimsy or frivolity. But no, this is actually a fairly serious grounding in just what we understand it means to be alive—"life," after all, hasn’t exactly been nailed down—and what that means when contemplating life in the great beyond. The information comes in bite-sized nuggets that can’t go very deep, but it is arresting and runs between biology and astronomy. Each two-page topic tackles the importance of microbeasts or thoughts on the evolution of language or the composition of planets—some made of diamonds, others gas or rock or fire or ocean. There is a bit on the role of wobbly stars and the critical juncture of the Goldilocks Zone and the promising environment of red dwarfs. There is just a whole lot here on biology both terrestrial and astral, in language that is upbeat and concise and with artwork that is good fun.

Sharp extraterrestrial inquiry—and a lesson in not judging a book by its cover. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7534-6885-2

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.

EXPLORING SPACE

FROM GALILEO TO THE MARS ROVER AND BEYOND

Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more