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Einstein shows no signs of losing his spot as Most Famous Scientist Ever, and here Meltzer makes a brave attempt to explain to younger middle-grade readers why that should be so. Discussions of Einstein’s pacifism and deep involvement in human-rights issues share at least equal time with his scientific insights and discoveries. The polished, math-free narrative covers the biographical high spots, from Einstein’s youth and schooling (“girls liked this good-looking teenager”) through his ground-breaking explanations of the relationship between matter and energy, time and space. Then it chronicles his opposition to World War I, his move to the United States as Hitler came to power, his renowned letter to FDR (the first page of which is reproduced, as one of a small selection of period photos) and his later career as scientific icon. Falling in length and level of detail between Don Brown’s Odd Boy Out (2004) and Marfé Ferguson Delano’s Genius: A Photobiography of Albert Einstein (2005), this profile will give both thinking children and adult new readers a clear sense of the man’s searching intellect and fierce heart. (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8234-1966-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2008

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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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Miranda’s book counts the monsters gathering at a birthday party, while a simple rhyming text keeps the tally and surveys the action: “Seven starved monsters are licking the dishes./Eight blow out candles and make birthday wishes.” The counting proceeds to ten, then by tens to fifty, then gradually returns to one, which makes the monster’s mother, a purple pin-headed octopus, very happy. The book is surprisingly effective due to Powell’s artwork; the color has texture and density, as if it were poured onto the page, but the real attention-getter is the singularity of every monster attendee. They are highly individual and, therefore, eminently countable. As the numbers start crawling upward, it is both fun and a challenge to try to recognize monsters who have appeared in previous pages, or to attempt to stay focused when counting the swirling or bunched creatures. The story has glints of humor, and in combination with the illustrations is a grand addition to the counting shelf. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-201835-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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