Thrilling reading for budding biologists.

READ REVIEW

WHEN LUNCH FIGHTS BACK

WICKEDLY CLEVER ANIMAL DEFENSES

Here’s blood in your eye.

Along with the ever popular hagfish (aka “snot eel”) and the horned lizard—which can indeed squirt blood from one or both eyes—Johnson (Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature’s Undead, 2012, etc.) profiles 10 animals with particularly noxious defense mechanisms. Likewise introducing researchers who have helped to provide “the science behind the story,” she explains the nature of each defense and, in simple but specific language, the biology that makes it work. Large color photos feature a mix of portrait views and close-ups of relevant body parts, to which spatters of blood and dripping ichor on each page add melodramatic visual motifs. This is an outstanding way for readers to meet scientists at work in both field and lab, as well as to learn that, for instance, fulmar chicks can project vomit up to 6 feet and, creepily, that a school of the Amazonian two-spot astyanax will attack and eject one of its own to distract an approaching predator.

Thrilling reading for budding biologists. (source notes, multimedia resource lists) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-2109-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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OIL SPILL!

DISASTER IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

The cleanup, finger pointing, litigation and economic recovery are still ongoing, but this overview of the Deepwater Horizon disaster offers a short and coherent account of the spill itself, the well’s eventual capping and, in broad strokes, the immediate environmental impact. Noting that the initial explosion occurred the very night of a ceremony commending the crew’s safety record (but not going into the long tally of construction shortcuts that made that ceremony so disingenuous), Landau provides a linear nonjudgmental account of major events between the April 20 eruption and the announcement of a permanent plug on Sep. 19, 2010. Big color photos add views of the platform burning, ships cleaning up oil slicks, oil-soaked wildlife and damaged coastal areas, along with smaller murky pictures of the failed blowout preventer on the ocean floor and the replacement cap. Additional graphics provide clear views of the technology—the rig itself, a cross-section of the blowout preventer and the relief well in relation to the original well—and a map of the Gulf coastline shows the affected areas. Limited, out of date and entirely based on secondary sources as it is, this still presents younger audiences a slightly more complete picture than Mona Chiang’s Oil Spill Disaster (2000). Includes eco-activities, resource lists and a tally of other major spills. (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-7485-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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