A labor of love reflecting years of experience in the field as well as in writing for young readers, this offers a path to...

TREECOLOGY

30 ACTIVITIES AND OBSERVATIONS FOR EXPLORING THE WORLD OF TREES AND FORESTS

Enter the world of trees!

This paperback invitation to the study of woodland ecology is nicely organized into chapters that lead from defining what a tree is and looking at individuals, through exploring wooded areas and the wildlife in and around the trees (and stumps!), and finally, to the relationships between trees and people and conservation issues. There’s a generous helping of "look for," "listen for," and "try this" activities for exploring woodlands. Most examples reflect trees that can be found in the eastern and central parts of the United States and nearby Canada, but the narrative is not specific to any single part of North America. As in Birdology (2015), Russo doesn’t talk down to her readers; this works for a wide age range. Activities range from simple observations to ongoing investigations. They require little equipment, sometimes only “your sharp eyes” and, later, a logbook. (She includes suggestions for making, decorating, and using one.) The 125 photos—of trees; leaves, bark, and other details; as well as plants, moss and lichen, and even insect and animal life—will be in full color. There are informational sidebars and drawings, too, as well as helpful backmatter.

A labor of love reflecting years of experience in the field as well as in writing for young readers, this offers a path to interesting explorations of the natural world. (glossary, common and scientific names, resources, teacher’s guide, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 8-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61373-396-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

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 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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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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