For older readers or adults who hope to encourage young nature watchers, a thorough and interesting exploration.

BIRDOLOGY

30 ACTIVITIES AND OBSERVATIONS FOR EXPLORING THE WORLD OF BIRDS

From the Young Naturalist series

A longtime nature columnist invites young people to use their eyes, ears, hands and minds to learn about birds.

More than an introduction, this is an immersion in the world of birding. Chapter by chapter, the author discusses field marks, beaks and feet, wings, eyes and nests, habitats, feeding, migration, and ways to protect and nurture birds. Each chapter also includes directions for activities: things to look and listen for, things to make and do. The author’s stated aim is “to foster independent study by careful observation and hands-on activities.” While many of the birds described and pictured are labeled, the focus isn’t naming but what else readers might learn through close attention. Her lengthy text is full of information, presented in a chatty, conversational way that often directly addresses readers: “By now you might be confused….” While the author adds interesting facts about birds from faraway places, she’s mostly discussing birds that will be familiar to residents of the United States and southern Canada. (Both author and photographer live in Maine.) She even suggests observing chickens. The activities are relatively simple and could easily be done independently or as a family or class project.

For older readers or adults who hope to encourage young nature watchers, a thorough and interesting exploration. (Nonfiction. 9 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61374-949-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

FLASH FACTS

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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WORLD WITHOUT FISH

The author of Cod (1997) successfully provides readers with a frightening look at the looming destruction of the oceans. Brief sections in graphic-novel format follow a young girl, Ailat, and her father over a couple of decades as the condition of the ocean grows increasingly dire, eventually an orange, slimy mess mostly occupied by jellyfish and leatherback turtles. At the end, Ailat’s young daughter doesn’t even know what the word fish means. This is juxtaposed against nonfiction chapters with topics including types of fishing equipment and the damage each causes, a history of the destruction of the cod and its consequences, the international politics of the fishing industry and the effects of pollution and global warming. The final chapter lists of some actions readers could take to attempt to reverse the damage: not eating certain types of fish, joining environmental groups, writing to government officials, picketing seafood stores that sell endangered fish, etc. Whenever an important point is to be made, font size increases dramatically, sometimes so that a single sentence fills a page—attention-getting but distractingly so. While it abounds with information, sadly, no sources are cited, undermining reliability. Additionally, there are no index and no recommended bibliography for further research, diminishing this effort’s value as a resource. Depressing and scary yet grimly entertaining. (Nonfiction/graphic-novel hybrid. 10 & up)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5607-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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