The newest entry in the usually exemplary Scientists in the Field series is more platform than profile. Rendering himself nearly invisible, the author allows wildlife conservation activist Sue Morse to lead a class into wintry New England woods. There, illustrated mostly with her own bright, sharp photos, she points out bear, deer, moose, and bobcat signs while explaining at length that wildlife needs not only more space than it’s often allotted, but also corridors that allow it to move between protected areas. Like the young trackers-in-training who pose in the pictures, readers will pick up a few hints about how to look for evidence of local wildlife, but more important, they will come away with a much clearer sense of the importance of conservation. Plus they’ll see the depth of one naturalist’s dedication to it, as well as plenty of encouragement to get personally involved. They will not see much of Morse the research scientist, however, as she has little to say about her academic training or scientific research, and the organization she founded, Keeping Track, is oddly absent from the closing list of contact addresses. This series has done much to expand the horizons of young readers who think that science can only be done in laboratories, but here the difference between inquiry and advocacy is blurred. (index, glossary, paper and electronic resource lists) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 24, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-04602-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2003

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The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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



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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