JOURNEY INTO THE DEEP

DISCOVERING NEW OCEAN CREATURES

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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FROZEN SECRETS

ANTARCTICA REVEALED

No ice crystal is left unturned in this sweeping historical and scientific examination of Antarctica. It's a relatively new "discovery"; the first person to set foot on the continent was a Briton in 1821. Walker briefly chronicles the ill-fated expeditions of such explorers as Scott and Shackleton, as well as Amundsen's successful trek to the South Pole. Although several nations have been engaged in serious research on the continent for more than 50 years, Antarctica remains a mysterious scientific frontier. The author explains Antarctica's unique place in international diplomacy and collaboration with the signing of the Antarctic Treaty. The text succinctly discusses complex discoveries made in such fields as biology, climatology, geology, oceanography and paleontology and the implications these discoveries have on understanding the planet as a whole. Attention is also given to the difficult, often dangerous conditions under which scientists must live and work. Photographs, maps and other illustrations, many in color, appear on every one of the attractively designed pages. Informative, insightful and engaging, this is an exceptional introduction to our southernmost continent. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, further reading and websites, index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58013-607-5

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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Science literally on the cutting edge, offering prospects of wonder and terror in equal measure.

CRISPR

A provocative report on world-changing developments promised by a dawning breakthrough in biotechnology.

Ridge first goes over the ins and outs of chromosomes and genomes, then explains how certain clusters of “palindromic repeats” found in the DNA of single-celled creatures can be employed to edit with precision any cell’s genetic “instruction manual.” Though just missing the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she goes on to explore the technique’s current and potential uses and misuses. The former include creating better medicines, cures for cancer and other systemic diseases, new plant varieties, and better livestock; the latter, scrambling ecological balances, cooking up frightening bioweapons, and “Playing God” with human germlines to make designer babies. In general she comes down on the positive side (if for no other reason than that it’s too late to get the cat back into the bag) but doesn’t skimp on laying out complications and quandaries for readers to chew over in formulating their own views. She leavens the hefty informational load as best she can (“The genetic similarity between a human and a banana is 60%”), and Boersma supplies a generous array of staid but lucid diagrams, schematics, and infographics in support. Though it is marketed as a book for readers 14 and up, both graphic design and complexity of language seem to suit it better for middle schoolers. 

Science literally on the cutting edge, offering prospects of wonder and terror in equal measure. (sources, resource lists, index) (Nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-424-5

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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