A wide-angled survey, but the pictures carry the problematic narrative.

CHARTING THE WORLD

GEOGRAPHY AND MAPS FROM CAVE PAINTINGS TO GPS

Historical examples and enrichment activities aplenty partly compensate for dry prose and iffy language in this broad overview of maps and their uses.

In topical chapters, the author covers the development of local and world maps, explains map reading in painstaking detail, covers geophysical features and forces, focuses on New World maps, then closes with considerations of specialized and political uses of maps and (in a cursory way) how satellites have mapped our planet and others. Absent a needed illustration of the prehistoric maps he mentions, there are otherwise color maps or photos on every spread, accompanying barrages of informative observations and facts. Some of these, like a tally of European explorers who “discovered” parts of the Americas and a note that gold rush prospectors encountered “Indians, mountains, deserts, and great rivers” on their way to the gold fields, could have been more sensitively expressed. Aside from a vague invitation to disprove the four-color theorem somehow by coloring a map, the 21 side activities are enlightening and range widely in difficulty without requiring expensive or hard-to-get materials. If readers come away thinking that “graphy” is a Greek word, they’ll also have a clear notion of why maps are worth studying.

A wide-angled survey, but the pictures carry the problematic narrative. (bibliography, online resource list, index; not seen) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56976-344-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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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 SHOT IN THE ARM!

From the Big Ideas That Changed the World series , Vol. 3

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) narrates this entry in the Big Ideas That Changed the World series, presenting the story of the development of vaccines.

Lady Mary, an intelligent, lovely White Englishwoman, was infected with smallpox in 1715. The disease left her scarred and possibly contributed to the failure of her marriage, but not before she moved with her husband to the Ottoman Empire and learned there of what came to be called variolation. Inoculating people with an attenuated (hopefully) version of smallpox to cause a mild but immunity-producing spell of the disease was practiced by the Ottomans but remained rare in England until Lady Mary, using her own children, popularized the practice during an epidemic. This graphic novel is illustrated with engaging panels of artwork that broaden its appeal, effectively conveying aspects of the story that extend the enthralling narrative. Taking care to credit innovations in immunology outside of European borders, Brown moves through centuries of thoughtful scientific inquiry and experimentation to thoroughly explain the history of vaccines and their limitless value to the world but also delves into the discouraging story of the anti-vaccination movement. Concluding with information about the Covid-19 pandemic, the narrative easily makes the case that a vaccine for this disease fits quite naturally into eons of scientific progress. Thoroughly researched and fascinating, this effort concludes with outstanding backmatter for a rich, accurate examination of the critical role of vaccines.

Essential. (timeline, biographical notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5001-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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