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From the By the Numbers series

Another excellent project from the multiply intelligent maestro of infographics.

Jenkins surveys over 20 rare and commonplace calamities that befall the planet, placing them into categories: earth, weather, life, and space.

He quickly establishes that some disasters are related to human action and that many have ripple effects lasting minutes, months, or years. Most entries claim a double-page spread with a clear introduction and an array of explicating infographics. “Earthquake” gets a pithy explanation of the role of tectonic plates. Thumbnail spots illustrate quakes’ relative damage, corresponding to numbers on the Richter scale, and a timeline ranks seven historical earthquakes’ destructiveness by human fatalities. Throughout, data include rankings, from established rubrics (such as hurricane categories, the volcanic explosivity index, and the Enhanced Fujita scale for tornadoes) to quirkier measures, like the relative visibility of a conifer in a blizzard. Jenkins highlights the destabilizing effects of events like drought, establishing its connection to famine, war, and even cultural collapse. The characteristics of a locust plague and potential impacts by near-Earth objects should fascinate kids. “Pandemic” covers the historical majors and includes AIDS. Covid-19 gets a corner spot here: Masking (with no mention of vaccination) is called out as “one of the best ways to protect” against the virus. Appropriately, climate change garners its own four-page concluding section. Small but distinct maps, cogent graphs, crisp collaged illustrations, unambiguous language, and exquisite attention to relative size characterize this keenly executed series entry. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Another excellent project from the multiply intelligent maestro of infographics. (glossary, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-328-56948-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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