A necessary read in today’s climate.

DROUGHTS

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 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

CECE LOVES SCIENCE

From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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