Tidbits of information and crisp, engaging photographs will entice browsers, while students needing information for...

THE ARAB WORLD THOUGHT OF IT

INVENTIONS, INNOVATIONS, AND AMAZING FACTS

An introduction to the Arab world through the arts and sciences developed in the many countries of the Middle East and North Africa and other regions where Arab culture flourished.

One-to-four–page introductions to many topics brim busily with excellent color photographs and provide readers with background information on education, astronomy, weaponry, architecture, food, medical discoveries, arts and crafts, religion, and everyday inventions such as mattresses and hard soap. Arab women get a little specific attention near the end, and the last few pages are devoted to contemporary life, but there is no focus on political issues. This positive celebration of learning, ingenuity and culture seeks to highlight the contributions of Arabs from earlier centuries and to make contemporary connections, occasionally with a little too much emphasis. For example, Ammar al-Mawsili is mentioned as being the inventor of “a special syringe and a hollow needle that he used to suck the cataract out of the eye,” and the author avers that today’s surgeons use similar techniques and equipment. While that may be true, earlier Indian, Greek, Roman and Egyptian developments are omitted, giving readers a simplistic view of the history of ophthalmology. Despite weaknesses, this survey definitely fills a niche.

Tidbits of information and crisp, engaging photographs will entice browsers, while students needing information for substantive research projects will need additional resources on many topics. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55451-476-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike.

ULTIMATE OCEANPEDIA

THE MOST COMPLETE OCEAN REFERENCE EVER

A compendium of all things oceanic, from surface to depths, covering biology, geology, coasts, climatic phenomena, and human use and abuse.

Considering the size of the general topic, the coverage isn’t as shallow as it might be. Hundreds of crisply professional nature photos and big, easy-to-follow charts and diagrams anchor waves of densely packed but often breezy commentary (“Many parrotfish species also make their own sleeping bags at night—out of mucus!”) that Wilsdon pours in beneath such headers as “It’s a Shore Thing” and “Belize It or Not!” Overviews of each ocean, of plate tectonics, the action and effects of ocean currents, worldwide climate change, and physical features from islands to abyssal plains sail by in succession, but marine biology takes pride of place with page after page of photogenic sea life from tiny krill on up to whales and polar bears. The author profiles a marine ecologist and interviews an oceanographer to cap chapters on modern research, exploration, and industries, then closes with generous lists of sites to visit physically or virtually.

A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2550-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Personal notes give this stirring tribute to speed, power, and technological prowess an unusually intimate air.

CROSSING ON TIME

STEAM ENGINES, FAST SHIPS, AND A JOURNEY TO THE NEW WORLD

Childhood memories, as well as loads of historical and archival research, anchor a history of ocean liners from the invention of steam pumps to the magnificent SS United States.

Linked by recollections of his own family’s 1957 journey from the U.K. to New York aboard the United States, Macaulay traces the development of steam-powered ships from a small 1783 paddle-driven experiment to the 990-foot monster that still holds the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing by a ship of its type. Ignoring the Titanic-like tragedies, he focuses on design and engineering—mixing profile portraits of dozens of increasingly long, sleek hulls with lovingly detailed cutaway views of boilers, turbines, and power trains, structural elements being assembled (sometimes with the help of a giant authorial hand reaching down from the skies), and diagrams of decks and internal workings. All of this is accompanied by sure, lucid explanations and culminates in a humongous inside view of the United States on a multiple gatefold, with very nearly every room and cupboard labeled. Having filled in the historical highlights, the author turns to his own story with an account of the five-day voyage and his first impressions of this country that are made more vivid by reconstructed scenes and family photos. A waiter in one of the former is the only person of color in clear view, but human figures of any sort are rare throughout.

Personal notes give this stirring tribute to speed, power, and technological prowess an unusually intimate air. (timeline, further reading) (Nonfiction/memoir. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-477-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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