Though the text in this entry in an admirable series may be challenging for young readers, the subject has guaranteed kid...

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DON'T MESS WITH ME

THE STRANGE LIVES OF VENOMOUS SEA CREATURES

From the How Nature Works series

A sampling of the more than 12,000 varieties of stinging creatures that live in the ocean.

Striking photographs and informative text introduce venomous ocean-dwellers in six different phyla: cnidarians, mollusks, annelids, arthropods, echinoderms, and chordates. This organization by increasing complexity is what’s used in the bulk of the text and in the backmatter, which offers fast facts about the 28 different species described in this tempting title. After opening with a description of an iconic example—the greater blue-ringed octopus, whose bite can kill a person—Erickson clears up the usual confusion between “poisonous” and “venomous” and presents a detailed explanation of how anemones, sea jellies, and coral can sting. He goes on, now following the phylum order, to introduce a variety of other sea creatures including bloodworms, the blind remipede (the first known venomous crustacean), the crown of thorns sea star, the bluespotted stingray, the reef stonefish, and the lionfish. Most spreads include a boxed text headed “How Nature Works,” which may describe open scientific questions, settled theories, or applications. Erickson doesn’t pander to his readers: He uses appropriate terminology. Martinez’s clearly captioned photographs show the creatures in their habitats; there are also diagrams and microscope images. Colorful pages and varied design add interest.

Though the text in this entry in an admirable series may be challenging for young readers, the subject has guaranteed kid appeal. (timeline, further resources, glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88448-551-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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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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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