TIDAL WAVES AND FLOODING

An entry in the Closer Look At series is too cluttered in design and often too vague to be useful. A few brief, disjointed paragraphs and a single spread are devoted to such complex topics as tsunamis, river flooding, and typhoons. The text makes proclamations without further explanations, e.g., “flooding is one of the most destructive natural disasters,” but Flaherty does not subsequently and clearly explain its causes (excessive building or dredging, the destruction of wetlands, loss of trees, etc.). The section devoted to countermeasures mentions reforestation, but emphasizes building dikes, coastal concrete walls, and shelters to house people displaced by flood. That dates the title, as scientists and specialists in land use currently discourage the building of dikes and re-channeling bodies of water. (diagrams, chronology, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-7613-0866-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Copper Beech/Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1998

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WEATHER

Remarking that ``nothing about the weather is very simple,'' Simon goes on to describe how the sun, atmosphere, earth's rotation, ground cover, altitude, pollution, and other factors influence it; briefly, he also tells how weather balloons gather information. Even for this outstanding author, it's a tough, complex topic, and he's not entirely successful in simplifying it; moreover, the import of the striking uncaptioned color photos here isn't always clear. One passage—``Cumulus clouds sometimes build up into towering masses called cumulus congestus, or swelling cumulus, which may turn into cumulonimbus clouds''—is superimposed on a blue-gray, cloud-covered landscape. But which kind of clouds are these? Another photo, in blue-black and white, shows what might be precipitation in the upper atmosphere, or rain falling on a darkened landscape, or...? Generally competent and certainly attractive, but not Simon's best. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-10546-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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ACCIDENTS MAY HAPPEN

FIFTY INVENTIONS DISCOVERED BY MISTAKE

In this entertaining companion volume to Mistakes that Worked (1994), Jones describes more of the often humorous incidents that resulted in inventions, products, and fashions. The telephone and photography are discussed as well as cellophane, Bakelite, Masonite, and dynamite. Another chapter offers speculation as to the origins of yeast, raisins, coffee, and vinegar, without much in the way of documentation, and a part of a chapter is devoted to the meanings of some nursery rhymes (it's never clear what they have to do with inventions). Nevertheless, this is entertaining reading, with whimsical black-and-white drawings, places to write for more information, a brief bibliography, and an index. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-385-32162-7

Page Count: 86

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1996

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