Eye-opening, encouraging, and attractive—a winning trifecta.

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ENGINEERED!

ENGINEERING DESIGN AT WORK

Hunt draws a welcoming introduction to the engineering trade, which isn’t just bridges, tunnels, and highways anymore.

Engineering has a hard-nosed reputation. Though it is true that engineers use “math, science and technology skills to find creative solutions to problems,” Hunt explains that their work is more than mastering a slide rule and engineering drawing. It’s the discipline’s creative aspect that Hunt concentrates on (“If existing technology won’t solve the problem, engineers create new technology, such as a machine that prints skin substitutes for burn victims”), and how cool is that? Hancock’s artwork is both bell-clear and engaging, a combination that might bring to mind David Macaulay but is a very different animal. Here the illustrations have a board-game appeal to complement the warmth of the writing, which remains approachable despite tongue twisters such as “manganese dioxide for the cathode, zinc for the anode and an alkaline (the opposite of acidic) substance called potassium hydroxide for the electrolyte.” Hunt explains the steps used in engineering design—defining the problem, investigating requirements, developing and comparing solutions, creating, testing, optimizing, sharing—bringing in examples that range from aerospace to biomedical to civil to geomantics (“These engineers monitor climate change, predict floods and study how animals adapt to changing environments”). As she makes her way through each example, an inventive use of iconographics informs readers when they are at each particular stage—comparing solutions, optimizing—of the design process.

Eye-opening, encouraging, and attractive—a winning trifecta. (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77138-560-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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An outstanding case study in how science is actually done: funny, nuanced, and perceptive.

THE FIRST DINOSAUR

HOW SCIENCE SOLVED THE GREATEST MYSTERY ON EARTH

How does a new, truly revolutionary idea become established scientific fact?

Lendler spins his account of how the awesome age and significance of fossils came to be understood into a grand yarn that begins 168 million years ago. He fast-forwards to 1676 and the first recorded fossil fragment of what was later named Megalosaurus and builds on the premise of “The Blind Men and the Elephant” to trace the ensuing, incremental accretion of stunning evidence over the next two centuries that the Earth is far older than the Bible seems to suggest and was once populated by creatures that no longer exist. It’s a story that abounds in smart, colorful characters including Mary Anning, Richard Owen (a brilliant scholar but “a horrible human being”), and Gideon Mantell, “a dude who really, really loved fossils.” Along the way the author fills readers in on coprolites (“the proof was in the pooing”), highlights the importance of recording discoveries, and explains how the tentative suggestion that certain fossils might have come from members of the “Lizard Tribe” morphed into the settled concept of “dinosaur.” Though he tells a Eurocentric tale, the author incorporates references to sexism and class preconceptions into his picture of scientific progress. Butzer’s illustrations add decorative and, sometimes, comical notes to sheaves of side notes, quotations, charts, maps, and period portraits and images.

An outstanding case study in how science is actually done: funny, nuanced, and perceptive. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2700-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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