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From the Voice of the Wilderness Picture Book series

An illuminating account of a spectacular eco-success story.

A history of wolves in Yellowstone that offers a salutary lesson in how ecosystem management is no walk in the park.

In both cumulative rhyme and a substantial prose afterword, Parry tracks what happened when the wolves of the Yellowstone National Park area were exterminated: “No slap of the beaver, no chirp of the sparrow; / The trees became scarce, and the streams became narrow.” When they were reintroduced in the 1990s, the wolves touched off a “trophic cascade” of habitat recovery and increased biodiversity. Thermes, too, goes for a multistranded approach. Maps and historical sidelights (“No Polling Places on Reservation,” observes a 1924 newspaper headline) are mixed with views of broad landscapes studded with wildlife. Inset graphic panels feature informative conversations between an anxious coyote and an omnivorous bear: “Mice are tasty.” “I love a good moth myself. Pine nuts? Fish? Don’t get me started. But wolves? They’re all elk, all the time.” That’s not strictly true, as the author admits, because wolves kill livestock, too (and so do coyotes and bears). Still, “conversations about how to best coexist” are ongoing, as she diplomatically puts it, and the overall benefits of the reintroduction are well documented. The artist appends a labeled gallery of the wild creatures that appear in the pictures, and a note explaining why she chose to portray railroad workers in one 19th-century scene as Chinese (though acknowledging she couldn’t confirm that Chinese immigrants built railways in Yellowstone).

An illuminating account of a spectacular eco-success story. (glossary, resource lists) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780062969583

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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From the How To Explain Science series

A lighthearted first look at an increasingly useful skill.

Grown-ups may not be the only audience for this simple explanation of how algorithms work.

Taking a confused-looking hipster parent firmly in hand, a child first points to all the computers around the house (“Pro Tip: When dealing with grown-ups, don’t jump into the complicated stuff too fast. Start with something they already know”). Next, the child leads the adult outside to make and follow step-by-step directions for getting to the park, deciding which playground equipment to use, and finally walking home. Along the way, concepts like conditionals and variables come into play in street maps and diagrams, and a literal bug stands in for the sort that programmers will inevitably need to find and solve. The lesson culminates in an actual sample of very simple code with labels that unpack each instruction…plus a pop quiz to lay out a decision tree for crossing the street, because if “your grown-up can explain it, that shows they understand it!” That goes for kids, too—and though Spiro doesn’t take the logical next step and furnish leads to actual manuals, young (and not so young) fledgling coders will find plenty of good ones around, such as Get Coding! (2017), published by Candlewick, or Rachel Ziter’s Coding From Scratch (2018).

A lighthearted first look at an increasingly useful skill. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9781623543181

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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