THE ISLAND THAT MOVED

HOW SHIFTING FORCES SHAPE OUR EARTH

Despite some evident seams, this case study in plate tectonics is valuable for its unusual approach. Hooper traces the origin and history of an imaginary Antarctic island. First, its molten material wells up on a primeval ocean floor. Fast forward to 200 million years ago, and it’s a shoreline where dinosaurs roam amid lush greenery—then so on, in stages, as it slowly pulls away from the mainland supercontinent, and today, still moving “at the speed a fingernail grows,” makes a ruggedly rocky home for mosses, lichens, insects, birds, and penguins. The author describes that supercontinent’s breakup, but deLeiris’s matching map doesn’t show up until much later on—after island scenes abruptly give way to spreads on fault lines, earthquakes, and continental drift in general. A good supplementary purchase, but with staid-looking art and haphazard organization, it’s not going to drift past Helen Roney Sattler’s Our Patchwork Planet (1995). (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-670-05882-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2004

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

HURRICANES

Simon tackles his latest natural disaster in trademark but not very modern style. Information on hurricanes is clearly presented but poorly organized, and lacks any sense of drama or story. Aimed at the same age group as Dorothy Souza’s Hurricanes (1996) and Patricia Lauber’s Hurricanes: Earth’s Mightiest Storms, this falls short of both, often going into too much pedantic detail—the wind speeds of tropical depressions versus tropical storms—while failing to put needed perspective on some of the more eye-popping statistics. A hurricane can move more than a million cubic miles of atmosphere per second—but the naked numbers are essentially meaningless to students who think of millions in terms of ballplayers’ salaries and can’t imagine cubic miles at all. Photos of smashed houses and boats in front yards add excitement, but others—plain clouds?—detract; some are very grainy when blown up to the requisite full page. Formulaic and a numbing read-aloud. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-688-16291-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2003

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