The personification adds an appealing angle to this venturesome visit to Earth’s closest planetary neighbor.

READ REVIEW

CURIOSITY

THE STORY OF A MARS ROVER

The latest and greatest of the Mars rovers tells its tale and explains its purpose.

Fans of the eponymous robot star of the film WALL-E will see a kindred spirit in this chronicle’s narrator as it wheels its lonely way over dimly lit Martian barrens, glassy camera-eye held jauntily above its buggy-shaped chassis. Emphasizing flat, geometric shapes to give his big scenes a retro look, Motum begins with stylized views of the red planet, then briefly summarizes Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon’s surface before showing Curiosity under construction, then in schematic fashion depicts each stage of the rover’s launch, long voyage, and final descent. “Touchdown confirmed. We’re safe on Mars!” (An actual quote, though from a NASA official, not the fictive narrator.) The oversized trim accommodates sweeping views of space, panoramas of both the control room and Mars, and a 90-degree turn to dramatize liftoff. The narrative proceeds in a methodical, matter-of-fact way to lay out details of the rover’s design and assembly—by, in the art at least, a carefully diverse crew of NASA workers—along with its space journey and what it has been up to since its 2012 landing. Suggesting that its findings are likely to provide as many questions as answers, Curiosity concludes with the thought that its wheel tracks may one day be joined by footprints. Here’s hoping.

The personification adds an appealing angle to this venturesome visit to Earth’s closest planetary neighbor. (timeline, glossary, note on other Mars rovers) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9504-0

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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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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