A fascinating if focused look at an inventor and innovator who changed America.

READ REVIEW

FULL OF BEANS

HENRY FORD GROWS A CAR

Henry Ford is well known for the Model T and the assembly line, but he made many other contributions to the economic health of the nation.

He was also concerned with finding ways to improve farming methods and ease the heavy burdens of farmers. He built reliable tractors from spare car parts. The Depression exacerbated existing troubles. Ford already recycled and repurposed nearly everything at his factory and thought that he could find new uses for farm crops as well. He created a laboratory and hired scientists to study grains, fruits, and vegetables, and they finally determined that soybeans were the answer. The team developed soybean-based paint, fabric, and lightweight plastic that could form most of the parts for his cars. The vast amount of soybeans needed kept hundreds of farmers solvent and even prosperous. After Ford’s death, the soybean continued to be converted into dozens of products way beyond his initial plan. Thomas presents the facts as if in direct conversation with readers, with clear and accessible explanations. Fotheringham’s boldly hued, action-packed digital illustrations are bright and cheery; they depict an all-white cast. Extensive backmatter includes further information on Ford and soybeans, two recipes, a timeline, and further resources. Absent from both it and the primary story is any reference to Ford’s virulent anti-Semitism.

A fascinating if focused look at an inventor and innovator who changed America. (notes, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62979-639-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more