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A bland, sketchy overview that also lacks that now-necessary sense of urgency.

A survey of weather, and some of its causes, through four seasons.

The authors do thread in a few glances at climate change and weather extremes, but in general they present a benign picture of the sorts of weather typical to each season in temperate, Northern Hemisphere locales and how the sun, winds, and ocean currents influence them. Their efforts to keep things simple go amiss, though, when they create the impression that all deserts are hot, all winters everywhere are “cold, cloudy, and damp,” and all rainforests, tropical. They also leave readers who wonder why, say, auroras only appear near the poles or even why the sky is blue no wiser. (A simplistic claim that tropical rainforests create their own rain could use some unpacking too.) Adding occasional schematic arrows to show movements of wind or water, Attia sends two children—one brown-skinned, the other pale, with straight, black hair in a pageboy—through outdoorsy scenes of sun, rain, and snow before leaving them floating in space, looking down at our big blue marble. The low-key approach has its appeal, but more-dramatic treatments of the topic, like Isabel Otter’s Weather (2019), will give younger audiences a better sense of what they’re in for in the near future.

A bland, sketchy overview that also lacks that now-necessary sense of urgency. (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-3-96704-711-0

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Little Gestalten

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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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From the How To Explain Science series

A lighthearted first look at an increasingly useful skill.

Grown-ups may not be the only audience for this simple explanation of how algorithms work.

Taking a confused-looking hipster parent firmly in hand, a child first points to all the computers around the house (“Pro Tip: When dealing with grown-ups, don’t jump into the complicated stuff too fast. Start with something they already know”). Next, the child leads the adult outside to make and follow step-by-step directions for getting to the park, deciding which playground equipment to use, and finally walking home. Along the way, concepts like conditionals and variables come into play in street maps and diagrams, and a literal bug stands in for the sort that programmers will inevitably need to find and solve. The lesson culminates in an actual sample of very simple code with labels that unpack each instruction…plus a pop quiz to lay out a decision tree for crossing the street, because if “your grown-up can explain it, that shows they understand it!” That goes for kids, too—and though Spiro doesn’t take the logical next step and furnish leads to actual manuals, young (and not so young) fledgling coders will find plenty of good ones around, such as Get Coding! (2017), published by Candlewick, or Rachel Ziter’s Coding From Scratch (2018).

A lighthearted first look at an increasingly useful skill. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9781623543181

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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