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From the True Rescue series

This bare-bones action version lacks emotional and character depth but still delivers a gripping tale.

An adaptation of the 2016 young readers’ edition of the 2013 book for adults, all of the same title, with the addition of black-and-white illustrations.

Aimed at a younger readership than the earlier adaptation, this version further simplifies the plot but not the language, since some of it is taken nearly verbatim from the 2016 story. Tougias has highlighted the action part for this adaptation, presenting a much shorter version that forgoes character development and emotional depth. In this tale based on a true event, three men set out from Florida to sail to France in May 2007. They haven’t met prior to the planned crossing, but the crew, Rudy and Ben, are impressed with the 44-foot Sean Seamour II and its captain/owner, JP, who is experienced and well prepared (a point that comes across better in the 2016 book—this one makes him seem somewhat incompetent). Unfortunately, all the preparation in the world doesn’t help the sailors when they collide with a fierce storm. The yacht is overcome by the incredible 80-foot waves, and the men take to the tiny inflatable life raft, hoping for rescue. Nautical terms and land terms are interchanged: Sometimes it’s “knots,” sometimes it’s “miles per hour”; a character’s “raincoat” becomes “foul weather gear”—inconsistencies that are confusing. Geyer’s black-and-white woodcut-style illustrations, reminiscent of early illustrated action stories, bring the narrative into the realm of timeless adventure stories. Series companion The Finest Hours, an adaptation of the 2014 young readers’ edition of Tougias and Casey Sherman’s 2009 title for adults, publishes simultaneously.

This bare-bones action version lacks emotional and character depth but still delivers a gripping tale. (author’s note, photo gallery, glossary) (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-13756-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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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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From the How To Explain Science series

A lighthearted first look at an increasingly useful skill.

Grown-ups may not be the only audience for this simple explanation of how algorithms work.

Taking a confused-looking hipster parent firmly in hand, a child first points to all the computers around the house (“Pro Tip: When dealing with grown-ups, don’t jump into the complicated stuff too fast. Start with something they already know”). Next, the child leads the adult outside to make and follow step-by-step directions for getting to the park, deciding which playground equipment to use, and finally walking home. Along the way, concepts like conditionals and variables come into play in street maps and diagrams, and a literal bug stands in for the sort that programmers will inevitably need to find and solve. The lesson culminates in an actual sample of very simple code with labels that unpack each instruction…plus a pop quiz to lay out a decision tree for crossing the street, because if “your grown-up can explain it, that shows they understand it!” That goes for kids, too—and though Spiro doesn’t take the logical next step and furnish leads to actual manuals, young (and not so young) fledgling coders will find plenty of good ones around, such as Get Coding! (2017), published by Candlewick, or Rachel Ziter’s Coding From Scratch (2018).

A lighthearted first look at an increasingly useful skill. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9781623543181

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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