A dozen earthly gems, buffed high by Simon.

READ REVIEW

SEYMOUR SIMON'S EXTREME EARTH RECORDS

Simon adds another to his mammoth body of swinging, smart science books for kids.

The author devotes four pages each to the most extreme environments and environmental events on Earth: coldest, hottest, driest, highest, deepest, biggest earthquake, largest volcano, most destructive tsunami and kindred greats. As always—and this is no mean feat—he manages to wow readers, while imparting the scientific circumstances that either create or allow for these phenomena. There is the sheer juicy stuff—temperatures ranging from minus 129 F to 160 F, 56 feet of annual snowfall—but he also adds the human factor (why do 300 people live on Tristan de Cunha, the world’s most remote place?) and introduces the rare flora and fauna. There is an artful blend of text and image, but so much happens in the mind’s eye—a wave traveling at 600 mph, holy cow—that Simon really gets readers thinking. Two grouses: There should have been a photo of Mount Thor on Baffin Island, the greatest pure vertical drop (4100 feet), rather than three waterfall shots; but most egregiously—no maps! Metric measurements are included parenthetically. These places are somewhere—perhaps near, so let’s go—and readers deserve a sense of their location.

A dozen earthly gems, buffed high by Simon. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0785-1

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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