WE WERE HERE

A SHORT HISTORY OF TIME CAPSULES

Seibert (Discovering El Niño, not reviewed, etc.) narrows the definition of “time capsule” to include only sealed containers with a specific opening date. Then (evidently feeling that that didn’t leave enough material for an entire book) proceeds to pad the discussion with examples that don’t qualify: the pyramids, the Rosetta Stone, the tomb of Ch’in Shih Huang Ti, the engraved plates placed aboard the Voyager space probes, the thousands of hollow building cornerstones. But she spares only a few glances at the revealing, sometimes quirky artifacts placed into the “true” time capsules that she does mention, such as the Centennial Safe, closed in 1876 and opened in 1976, the Westinghouse Capsule buried at the 1939 World’s Fair, and the granddaddy of them all: Oglethorpe University’s Crypt of Civilization. The drab black-and-white photos don’t help, and for readers eager to create time capsules of their own she provides such “instructions” as “you will need to research which kinds of containers can preserve items in the best way.” The annotated Web sites at the end are a plus, but not a big enough one to rescue this uninspired effort. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-0423-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2002

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THE PUMPKIN BOOK

The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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