A close look at the human animal—informative despite a severe lack of overall context.

READ REVIEW

WHO AM I?

A broad overview of what makes us tick and, more superficially, what makes us human.

Loosely related to an exhibit of the same name at the London Science Museum, the survey organizes single-topic spreads into four general areas: the brain and nervous system; heredity and evolution; emotions and social communication; and reproduction and development. The busy design features dazzling washes of color that provide few places for eyes to rest, mid-sized blocks of commentary and relatively technical explanatory captions. These mingle with elaborate montages of photographed children, medical and microphotography and photorealistic digital images of human anatomy rendered with a plastic sheen. Other animals, even other primates, get barely a nod as discussions of language, emotion, multiple kinds of intelligence, gender identity, individual personality, sex and attractiveness, aging and all the rest stay closely focused on human traits and features. Readers will come away with a few mistaken ideas—no, all bacteria are not bad—but also a clearer picture of how our bodies and brains function.

A close look at the human animal—informative despite a severe lack of overall context. (review questions, personality test, multimedia resource list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 19, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7534-67114

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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Quibbles aside, a sensitive approach to a difficult subject.

AFTER LIFE

WAYS WE THINK ABOUT DEATH

Funeral and mourning customs from many cultures and religious traditions, scientific explanations of death, and ways to think about personal grief.

Incorporating color photos, watercolor illustrations and spot art, sidebars, and legends in a layout that is sometimes too busy, this book reaches far into the past with information about burial rites in Egypt and Greece and then comes right up to the present with material about green burials and physician-assisted death. The chapter on grief posits that imagining emotions moving around a figure 8, on which “the more positive feelings are on the top part and the darker feelings are on the bottom part,” may be a more useful way for young people to grieve than the often cited Kübler-Ross model, which is linear in scope. There is advice about seeking out help from “a parent, a teacher, a counselor, or another caring adult” if young people find themselves “stuck in the bottom of the 8.” Occasionally, the book errs a bit. A double-page feature on limbo discusses ghosts, zombies, and other “undead beings” and is silent on the only recently discarded Catholic concept, for instance, and a discussion of funeral colors is accompanied by striking arrays of multicolored Mexican skulls, unmentioned there or even in the short caption for a photo of Day of the Dead customs two pages later.

Quibbles aside, a sensitive approach to a difficult subject. (resources, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1388-5

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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An ectoplasmic extravaganza, both on the page…and Beyond.

THE GHOSTKEEPER'S JOURNAL & FIELD GUIDE

AN AUGMENTED REALITY ADVENTURE

A talented young ghost hunter is missing, leaving behind clues to his fate in a collection of memos, field notes, reference material, and vintage photographs.

Informed that just opening the volume has released five ghosts, readers are urged to use their “ecto-sense” both to gather them back and to help track down rising star Agamemnon “Ag” White by following his trail through a series of case files and connecting documents. The quest is “augmented” by a free app. This adds tasks, sounds, and ominous messages when a mobile device’s camera is pointed at select pages as well as floating ectoplasmic blobs when it’s pointed around the room—these must be “captured” in order to unlock subsequent exploits. As readers tackle ghastly ghosts ranging from a jealous “Prismorph” that makes the Mona Lisa’s hair disappear to a “Toxigon” hanging out in an abandoned nuclear reactor, a storyline gradually emerges. This involves the orphaned Ag’s family—and the possibility that someone in the cast is actually hosting a fiendishly clever ghoul. Charts, drawings, faintly odd old photos, and cryptic symbols add to the spectral atmosphere. Although the interactive VR features are tricky enough to frustrate novice gamers, they work seamlessly after sufficient practice to lend additional chills to a decidedly eerie climax. Even knowing the consequences, newly fledged ghost hunters will be tempted to flip back to the beginning.

An ectoplasmic extravaganza, both on the page…and Beyond. (Novelty fantasy. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78312-398-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Carlton

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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