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Solid scientific browsing.

Each of 18 chapters offers support for titular sentences that seemingly contradict each other, as in “Earth Is Big” versus “Earth Is Small."

The large format—roughly 12 inches high by 20 inches wide when open—is necessary to pull off the curating. An introduction discusses exploring “the planet (and a lot of other things) through measurement and comparison.” Each chapter has been carefully arranged over one double-page spread. Bands of contrasting (if drab) colors and different type sizes and weights help keep attention; abundant, sometimes-droll posterlike illustrations are complementary but can feel overwhelming. The book has a decidedly retro feel, but art pays attention to racial presentation, and text includes climate change, mass extinctions, and a 2012 meteorite strike. Using contrasts to organize facts about the planet is a good idea in a time when attention is scarce. Teachers and parents who enjoyed browsing through the How and Why series of yore will find this a comfortable, updated replacement. The text valiantly serves up accessible explanations of terminology in virtually every field of science even as it also shows comparisons. For example, before a page comparing heavy metals, there are sidebars about the difference between mass and weight and about calculating density. One interesting chapter compares spherical and near-spherical objects living, nonliving, and human-made—including Earth, of course. Cool, kid-friendly fact: Soap bubbles become perfect spheres because of surface tension.

Solid scientific browsing. (contents, glossary, conversion table, index, source notes) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-912920-34-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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