Fascinating for earnest conservationists.

EAVESDROPPING ON ELEPHANTS

HOW LISTENING HELPS CONSERVATION

The chronological tale of the Elephant Listening Project, from precursory work in 1984 to its ongoing projects—all involving the sounds made by elephants.

Although coyly headlining its introduction, chapters, and bibliography with musical terminology, the text is generally straightforward. Readers learn from the introduction (“overture”) that scientists “eavesdrop on endangered African forest elephants not only to figure out what they’re saying but also to save them from extinction.” It goes on to discuss forest elephants as a keystone species. Next, there is a shift to the tales of Katy Payne and Andrea Turkalo, two dedicated researchers whose individual work with elephants and sounds led to the joint venture of the Elephant Listening Project in 1999, including working together at a rainforest research compound in the Central African Republic. Payne, Turkalo, and many of their team members present white, but local Bayaka people were invaluable in roles such as trackers, research assistants, and climbers to place the receivers. (Ground devices fare badly around curious elephants.) Currently, new conservationists, including some Bayaka, continue the work begun by the women. The text abounds with accessible—if sometimes prosaic—explanations of sound, spectrograms, technological advances, and more. Charts, graphs, and colorful photographs supplement the text. The subtitle is a bit misleading; only the fourth and fifth chapters discuss, minimally, “how listening helps conservation.” Grim facts are balanced by hope and faith in the next generation.

Fascinating for earnest conservationists. (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-1571-0

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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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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A splendid volume for young adventurers.

SURVIVOR KID

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WILDERNESS SURVIVAL

Based on her work with middle-school students, Long offers lessons on how to stay healthy and out of trouble while awaiting rescue, the same lessons taught to adults in her survival classes.

Her matter-of-fact, no-nonsense tone will play well with young readers, and the clear writing style is appropriate to the content. The engaging guide covers everything from building shelters to avoiding pigs and javelinas. With subjects like kissing bugs, scorpions, snow blindness and “How going to the bathroom can attract bears and mountain lions,” the volume invites browsing as much as studying. The information offered is sometimes obvious: “If you find yourself facing an alligator, get away from it”; sometime humorous: Raccoons will “fight with your dog, steal all your food, then climb up a tree and call you bad names in raccoon language”; and sometimes not comforting: “When alligators attack on land, they usually make one grab at you; if they miss, you are usually safe.” But when survival is at stake, the more information the better, especially when leavened with some wit. An excellent bibliography will lead young readers to a host of fascinating websites, and 150 clipart-style line drawings complement the text.

A splendid volume for young adventurers. (index not seen) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56976-708-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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