Far from comprehensive but a grand gathering of exploits and role models.



Tributes to more than two dozen women born or resident in the Emerald Isles who scored firsts or otherwise made their marks as social, artistic, athletic, or scientific movers and shakers.

“Changed the World” may be overstating some cases, but with the possible exceptions of Mother Jones and Anne Sullivan, these 28 women will at least be new to young readers on this side of the Atlantic, and all are or were strong, colorful sorts. The chronological roster begins with 16th-century “Pirate Queen of Connacht” Granuaile (O’Malley), then skips ahead to 19th-century novelist Maria Edgeworth, physician Margaret Bulkley (who dressed as a man and practiced as Dr. James Barry), prominent nationalists such as Maud Gonne and Countess Markievicz, film star Maureen O’Hara, Olympians Maeve Kyle and Sonia O’Sullivan, astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and former Irish President Mary Robinson. Webb begins each single-page profile with references to her subject’s origins and social class, goes on to brief descriptions of noteworthy experiences or feats, and closes with a handful of additional facts or observations. O’Neill adds lifelike, usually full-body portraits of each figure in period or working dress and smiling confidently. A closing gallery offers eight younger up-and-comers for readers to get acquainted with—including two people of color, track star Gina Akpe-Moses and actor Ruth Negga, who diversify the otherwise all-white cast.

Far from comprehensive but a grand gathering of exploits and role models. (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78849-004-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: O'Brien Press/Dufour Editions

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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A scrumptious concept but overcooked.



Picture the endless variety of foods that make up the world’s menus.

Small, labeled images of various nations’ main food products, including grains, meats, fruits, fish, vegetables, and dairy products, are scattered over 41 country maps and nearby bodies of water. Due to lack of room or perhaps poor design, popular dishes are placed outside the country’s borders, often within the landmass of an adjoining or nearby country, providing very perplexing impressions. For example, the page for Argentina shows the food products (Pampas cattle, sweet potatoes, wheat, etc.) within the Argentine border and the popular dishes (such as the dessert dulce de leche and the “national dish” of asado, “flame-grilled meat”) outside the national border. The inclusion of nonfood marine animals such as whales and dolphins is both unfortunate and confusing. The book is organized by region, and several individual countries are featured in each section. European countries predominate in this Italian import. Minimal coverage is given to the African continent, but unusually, Madagascar is included. The book could be a visual feast, but due to the sheer amount of poorly presented graphic information, it ends up a jumble. The notions of “slow food and slow fish presidiums” are inadequately explained. There is no index and no references, highly inappropriate for this informational text. Readers can browse but cannot easily find information that they may want to revisit.

A scrumptious concept but overcooked. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77085-952-4

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher.


A playful introduction to bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa.

Readers are going to need a basic grounding in cytology from the start, as Gallagher drops such terms as “nucleus” and “organelles” into the discourse without defining them and rushes past plasmids without explaining what they are or do. Likewise, though she fits out all of the jelly-bean–like cells and microbes in her lighthearted illustrations with expressive faces—not to mention occasional limbs, fashion accessories, and hair—she rarely includes recognizable biological components. She’s not particularly systematic either, as she mentions four major components of the human immune system but goes on to describe only two. More usefully, along with frequent mentions of how ubiquitous microbes are, her main focus seems to be laying out microbial types and subtypes, from the five shape-related groups of bacteria to the even more ancient archaea (Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, and Korarchaeota), and describing their individual distinctions and how they reproduce. Polysyllabic as some of this content is, the breezy presentation should impart to general students, as well as budding microbiologists, a nodding acquaintance with our single-celled neighbors and residents.

Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63411-009-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thunderstone Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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