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DROUGHTS

A necessary read in today’s climate.

In this era of climate change (or not, depending upon which politician you listen to) comes an apropos look at droughts.

Beginning with a definition of a drought, Stewart goes on to describe the kinds of signs readers might see if they are experiencing a drought in their community. Ceolin’s digital illustrations have the look of watercolors and here show kids swimming in a tree-ringed blue pond on the verso while on the recto, the same kids sadly gaze at the cracked and barren bottom of the almost-empty pond, the green around the edges turned brown. A double-page spread effectively describes and illustrates the water cycle, and Stewart explains how things can disrupt regular weather patterns to produce droughts. As a drought continues, conditions worsen: there are soil erosion and dust storms; the food chain collapses as plants and animals die. Scientists study patterns to learn to predict droughts, and people can take some measures to prepare for and help alleviate drought conditions. “Did You Know” asides provide interesting facts, and activities allow readers to measurably see just how little freshwater there is on Earth, measure rain, make a cloud, and see how much water they can save during tooth-brushing. Backmatter in this Level 2 Let’s Read and Find Out Science title includes a glossary, one web link, and some ways kids (and their families) can conserve water.

A necessary read in today’s climate. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-238666-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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I AM GRAVITY

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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OVER AND UNDER THE WAVES

From the Over and Under series

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.

In a new entry in the Over and Under series, a paddleboarder glimpses humpback whales leaping, floats over a populous kelp forest, and explores life on a beach and in a tide pool.

In this tale inspired by Messner’s experiences in Monterey Bay in California, a young tan-skinned narrator, along with their light-skinned mom and tan-skinned dad, observes in quiet, lyrical language sights and sounds above and below the sea’s serene surface. Switching perspectives and angles of view and often leaving the family’s red paddleboards just tiny dots bobbing on distant swells, Neal’s broad seascapes depict in precise detail bat stars and anchovies, kelp bass, and sea otters going about their business amid rocky formations and the swaying fronds of kelp…and, further out, graceful moon jellies and—thrillingly—massive whales in open waters beneath gliding pelicans and other shorebirds. After returning to the beach at day’s end to search for shells and to spot anemones and decorator crabs, the child ends with nighttime dreams of stars in the sky meeting stars in the sea. Appended nature notes on kelp and 21 other types of sealife fill in details about patterns and relationships in this rich ecosystem. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79720-347-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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