Challenging but important reading for the intended audience.

READ REVIEW

BACK FROM THE BRINK

SAVING ANIMALS FROM EXTINCTION

The stories of seven Western Hemisphere species—headed toward extinction for different reasons and saved in different ways—introduce and explain issues involved in the preservation of endangered animals.

After a short introduction to the concept of extinction and the importance of the Endangered Species Act, Castaldo describes her visits to restoration centers for whooping cranes in Wisconsin; gray wolves, bald eagles, and American bison in New York; giant Galápagos tortoises in Ecuador; condors in California; and alligators in Florida. Her admiration and appreciation for these wild creatures and their human helpers permeate the gracefully written text. Chapter by chapter she explains why each species was in trouble, the often controversial restoration methods, and the results. The well-organized and convincingly presented narrative is supplemented with sidebars and enlivened with plentiful photographs, most taken by the author herself. She uses her examples as springboards to introduce and explain larger questions as well as to introduce important concepts such as the need for apex predators. She uses fresh, less-familiar quotations (Herman Melville on the giant tortoise!) and cites scientists both male and female, naturalists, and volunteers, including young people. A “Call to Action” offers solid, meaningful suggestions for young readers, and she concludes with 18 pages of backmatter including many, many learning opportunities: things to watch and read, organizations to investigate, websites and parks to explore.

Challenging but important reading for the intended audience. (notes, bibliography, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-95343-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.

EXPLORING SPACE

FROM GALILEO TO THE MARS ROVER AND BEYOND

Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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