CHARLES DARWIN AND THE MYSTERY OF MYSTERIES

This engaging and insightful biography focuses primarily on Darwin’s five-year voyage aboard the Beagle and the years following in which he formulated and published his revolutionary theories on evolution and natural selection. As a child and adolescent, Darwin is depicted as precocious and insatiably curious but a reluctant student regarding formal studies. Readers are left with a strong understanding of which scientists influenced Darwin in his own research and the process by which he arrived at a unique understanding through his own discoveries and observations. Darwin’s writings are quoted extensively. Sidebars throughout citing cultural and historical milestones offer readers a good sense of Darwin’s times. In an epilogue, the authors offer a concise overview of the controversy Darwin’s theories on evolution and natural selection continues to stir. The text is effectively supported by maps, photographs and other archival images. Backmatter includes chronologies, notes and suggestions for further reading. The detailed focus on Darwin’s scientific pursuits makes this book a good complement to the personal portrait offered in Deborah Heiligman’s Charles & Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith (2009). (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59643-374-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Neal Porter/Flash Point/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2010

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WEATHER

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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Middle school worries and social issues skillfully woven into a moving, hopeful, STEM-related tale.

THE EXACT LOCATION OF HOME

Following the precise coordinates of geocaching doesn’t yield the treasure Kirby Zagonski Jr. seeks: his missing father.

Geeky eighth-grader Kirby can’t understand why his mother won’t call his dad after their generous landlady dies and they’re evicted for nonpayment of rent. Though his parents have been divorced for several years and his father, a wealthy developer, has been unreliable, Kirby is sure he could help. Instead he and his mother move to the Community Hospitality Center, a place “for the poor. The unfortunate. The homeless.” Suddenly A-student Kirby doesn’t have a quiet place to do his schoolwork or even a working pencil. They share a “family room” with a mother and young son fleeing abuse. Trying to hide this from his best friends, Gianna and Ruby, is a struggle, especially as they spend after-school hours together. The girls help him look for the geocaches visited by “Senior Searcher,” a geocacher Kirby is sure is his father. There are ordinary eighth-grade complications in this contemporary friendship tale, too; Gianna just might be a girlfriend, and there’s a dance coming up. Kirby’s first-person voice is authentic, his friends believable, and the adults both sometimes helpful and sometimes unthinkingly cruel. The setting is the largely white state of Vermont, but the circumstances could be anywhere.

Middle school worries and social issues skillfully woven into a moving, hopeful, STEM-related tale. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-548-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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