Fresh and informal but stronger on background than hands-on experiences.

READ REVIEW

THE BOOK OF INGENIOUSLY DARING CHEMISTRY

24 EXPERIMENTS FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS

From the Irresponsible Science series

A highlights reel of the periodic table of elements, with 24 experiments and demonstrations.

Connolly (The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science, 2010, etc.) focuses on 20 of the table’s common “key players,” providing for each accounts of its historic discovery, how it bonds or otherwise behaves with other substances, common uses, quick snapshots of neighboring elements, and one or two experiments. These last are the weakest link, as, for instance, the author simply instructs budding chemists to buy trick birthday candles rather than try to make them, pulls a bait and switch with a project for neon that uses a fluorescent bulb (“Sure, it’s filled with a different gas…but the experiment gets the same result”), and, thanks to garbled instructions, leaves the circuit unclosed in a supposed demonstration of graphite’s electrical conductivity. In her very simple cartoon illustrations Bean doesn’t always pick up the slack (placing the wire and nail in a potato “battery” close together rather than, as the instructions specify, as far apart as possible) but does at least portray a diverse cast of young makers along with decorative historical and fanciful images. Otherwise, the author further punches up a set of colorfully delivered tales of discovery with plenty of side notes on hazardous products and isotopes, capped by a closing rogues’ gallery of particularly dangerous elements, and also offers lucid pictures of chemical processes and how the periodic table is organized.

Fresh and informal but stronger on background than hands-on experiences. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7611-8010-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.

EXPLORING SPACE

FROM GALILEO TO THE MARS ROVER AND BEYOND

Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark.

DARK MATTERS

NATURE'S REACTION TO LIGHT POLLUTION

Reflections on the ways that artificial light upsets patterns and behaviors in the natural world.

Galat (Stories of the Aurora,2016, etc.) spins childhood memories into semifictive reminiscences. Between recalling lying on her back in the snow at 10 to trace the Big Dipper and describing links between light pollution and several environmental issues as a grown-up naturalist, the author recalls camping trips and other excursions at various ages. These offer, at least tangentially, insights into how artificial lighting could affect nocturnal insects, sea turtle hatchlings, bats, and migratory birds, as well as the general hunting, mating, and nesting behaviors of animals. She closes, after a quick mention of scotobiology (the study of life in darkness), with a plea to turn off the lights whenever possible. Though she does not support this general appeal with specific practices or, for that matter, source notes for her information, she does offer a list of internet search terms for readers who want to explore the topic further. Despite illustrations that range from a close-up of a road-kill raccoon to pointless filler and passages that, paradoxically, are hard to read except in bright light because they’re printed over speckled fields of stars, this outing covers a topic that should be of interest to young stargazers and scotobiologists alike.

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88995-515-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more