A brief but lively episode for young STEM pullers, easily bearing a substantial informational load.

THE CASE OF THE SLIDING SPACESHIP

From the Art Smart, Science Detective series , Vol. 1

A young sleuth observes and reasons his way to the true nature of an apparent UFO.

His mom may claim that “not everything can be explained with logic and reason,” but those tools serve 10-year-old Art well—whether the mystery involves missing chocolate kisses (“The evidence was right there on my dad’s face”) or the weird purple blotch that swims into view when he aims his telescope at the night sky. True, the latter sight does have him and his three friends covering the garage windows, “shoving” peanut butter in their ears to ward off hypnotic voices (“It works better than cotton”), and calling the police. Amid the ruckus, though, Art suddenly notices that the blotch is in the same position no matter where the telescope points…and with a wet wipe solves the mystery. Along the way, the author slips in references to some constellations, a mnemonic phrase to keep the planets in order, and other useful bits of knowledge. Art even steps out between each chapter to deliver brief lectures, and an epilogue offers young stargazers leads to further information about Galileo and the constellations. The figures in Wyrick’s illustrations, though immobile of face and artificial of pose, do add some diversity by casting Robbie as black and Jason as a boy of color; Art and Amy are white.

A brief but lively episode for young STEM pullers, easily bearing a substantial informational load. (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61117-935-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Young Palmetto Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Long before Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching,” Fabre proved it so.

SMALL WONDERS

JEAN-HENRI FABRE AND HIS WORLD OF INSECTS

The rewards of simply taking time to bend down for a closer look are celebrated in this tribute to the great French entomologist.

Seeing as a lad that “every patch of dirt and tangle of weeds buzzed with insects: dazzling beetles, ferocious wasps, sweet-singing crickets, and more,” young Fabre went on to devote a long life to watching common insects rather than just collecting dead specimens as most of his contemporary colleagues did. The distinctive, enduring affection with which he regarded his diminutive subjects regardless of their often savage behavior comes through clearly here, both in Smith’s warm narrative and Ferri’s equally engaging views of the naturalist. He delightedly discovers a shimmering hoplia beetle beneath a leaf, smiles from his sickbed as a handful of hibernating bees revives after his son carries them indoors, and is wonderstruck by an account of how Cerceris wasps paralyze beetles as live food for offspring. (The illustrator has a little fun with viewers by adding a looming insectile shadow as well as close-up views of hovering wasps in this last scene.) Fabre’s many original discoveries and insights won him renown, and though he is largely unknown to nonspecialists today, his nose-to-nose approach to the natural world is well worth commemorating to modern readers.

Long before Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching,” Fabre proved it so. (historical note, timeline, author’s note, annotated source list) (Picture book/biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4778-2632-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An alternative to the shelf full of picture-book biographies, for readers who may find Sheila Cole’s Dragon in the Cliff,...

MARY ANNING'S CURIOSITY

Carved out and buffed up from historical records, an imagined account of the great fossil hunter’s early life and groundbreaking career.

Following an account of the lightning strike that killed several adults but spared the 15-month-old Mary, Kulling skips ahead to record the child’s deep delight at getting a rock hammer for her eighth birthday. Between that and Anning’s laborious extraction of a great ichthyosaur skeleton at age 12, in 1811, the author chronicles her sometimes-hazardous search for fossil ammonites and other “curiosities” (as they were then called) to sell as the family livelihood—first with her father and then, after his disabling accident and early death, largely alone. Period details of everyday life in Lyme Regis, both in the narrative and in Castrillón’s delicate illustrations, and embroidered encounters with rival fossil hunters and collectors flesh out the story; notes at the end wire together explanations of what fossils are with descriptions of some of Anning’s other discoveries and their subsequent histories. Though here at least she seems almost relieved to quit school at the earliest opportunity to pursue her vocation, Mary presents an admirable role model for her lively mind, independent spirit, and a continuing sense of wonder that drives her to chip away at nature’s mysteries.

An alternative to the shelf full of picture-book biographies, for readers who may find Sheila Cole’s Dragon in the Cliff, illustrated by T.C. Farrow (1991) hard to read or get. (bibliography) (Historical fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-898-3

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more