This strikingly illustrated book takes its readers on a series of research voyages exploring the ocean from its shallow edges to unfathomable depths during the recently completed ten-year International Census of Marine Life. Clearly organized text and pictures combine to introduce newly discovered marine creatures of all kinds: the Big Red jellyfish, with a bell the size of a door; mussels surrounding deep brine pools and feeding on methane-eating bacteria; zombie worms on a whale skeleton. Readers are invited to imagine diving in open water, exploring continental slopes inside a submersible vehicle, sorting through muck from the ocean bottom and sitting in a shipboard control structure watching displays from a remotely operated underwater vehicle. The excitement and challenge of discovery is tangible. Scientific photographs printed on blue-to-black background (darkening as the text descends into the depths) illustrate animals mentioned in a nicely legible text, mostly printed in white. There are clear captions, quotations from involved scientists and sidebars explaining important concepts like bioluminescence and chemosynthesis. Diagrams indicate where the voyage takes place. Rich, revealing and rewarding. (glossary, source notes, selected bibliography, suggestions for further learning, index, acknowledgements) (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7613-4148-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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Required reading on a topic that can only grow in importance to readers who will be living that “social, political, and...



Opinionated, cogent perspectives on the role of fossil fuels in human history.

Following a doubtless accurate claim that controlling the supply of oil and finding substitutes for the stuff “will shape much of the social, political, and military history of the twenty-first century,” Marrin opens with a petro-centric tale of wars. These range from an Egyptian conflict in the 4th century BCE to the War on Terror (“really the war for oil in disguise,” he suggests) and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. He also reviews the course of the Industrial Revolution (noting that automobiles were initially welcomed as being “cleaner, healthier, and safer” than horses), then goes on to analyze the hazards of our oil dependence, recap major oil spills and consider both the benefits and dangers of alternative energy sources. Well-surveyed territory this all may be, but the author’s beneficent portrait of John D. Rockefeller, his references to British “terrorism” in the Middle East and other heterodox views give it distinctive angles. Moreover, the urgency of his message that something has to change comes through clearly.

Required reading on a topic that can only grow in importance to readers who will be living that “social, political, and military history.” (endnotes, index, black-and-white photos) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86673-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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A closer focus on biology than bloodshed makes this a natural companion for Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s more anthropological Seeing...



Newquist expands considerably on the premise that “[t]here is more to blood than that it’s red and kind of gross” without neglecting to keep the “kind of gross” parts in view.

Along with a suitably gore-spattered parade of Aztec and other bloodthirsty gods and blood rituals throughout history, the author takes quick looks at various kinds of blood in the animal kingdom and at vampires in modern pop culture. He also recaps the development of our understanding of blood and the circulatory system from ancient times through the scientific revolution, and thence on to modern uses for blood in medicine and research. In considerably more detail, though, he tallies blood’s individual components and the specific functions of each in keeping our bodies alive and healthy. Aside from a debatable claim that “[e]verything you put in your body ends up in your blood,” this transfusion of information offers a rewarding experience to readers whether they’re after the specific differences between blood types and other biological data or just gore’s icky lore. It's nicely enhanced by a generous array of photographs, microphotographs and artists’ renderings.

A closer focus on biology than bloodshed makes this a natural companion for Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s more anthropological Seeing Red: The True Story of Blood (2012). (bibliography, Web sites) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-31584-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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