More than informative, this ecological adventure calls for action.

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THE WONDROUS WORKINGS OF PLANET EARTH

UNDERSTANDING OUR WORLD AND ITS ECOSYSTEMS

From microscopic organisms to apex predators, all life relies on Earth’s rich resources.

In this scientific exploration of the world, Ignotofsky (Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win, 2017, etc.) shows how living things interact with one another. The first part of the book covers concepts such as ecological organization, preparing readers to embark on an adventure from continent to continent. Every continent features a selection of specific ecosystems—North America’s redwood forests and mangrove swamps, for example—and highlights how each one benefits the world at large as well as what threats they face from human influence. After the world tour, Ignotofsky moves on to the cycles of nature and how humans interact with the environment. Although the book stresses the serious threats the environment faces, the tone encourages further education and action to help slow the destruction caused by climate change. Labeled, full-page illustrations sit side by side with the text, inviting readers to stop and explore. Diverse humans appear throughout the book, but while only showing up in a single instance, the depiction of a Native American scientist looks stereotypical despite the lab coat due to a long black braid; furthermore, what could be seen as a stylized cheekbone might well strike other readers as war paint. The text is divided into sections that make the book an accessible learning tool. Even with the distinct sections, however, Ignotofsky always returns to the larger theme of a connected world.

More than informative, this ecological adventure calls for action. (glossary, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-58041-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.

EXPLORING SPACE

FROM GALILEO TO THE MARS ROVER AND BEYOND

Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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