For so little a subject, such a crushing weight of words. (Nonfiction enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

A dry, verbose attempt to drum up interest in nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology is involved with structures and crystals at the atomic level, with the construction of teeny-weeny things that have a big impact in the everyday world, from running shoes to cancer research. Problems start cropping up from the get-go: In attempting to explain the wee nature of the nano—pictured here as a sort of atomic marble in musketeer gloves and boots—the authors go overboard. After one explanation: “That’s still pretty hard to picture, though, so let’s try this.” Then, a couple paragraphs later, “Let’s try explaining Nano’s size in another way.” Let’s not; we get the picture. Really small. The text is relentless and endless, and hopes that enhancements—few and far between—will come to the rescue are thwarted with mostly meaningless animated clips, though high marks are given for reproductions from electron and scanning-probe microscopes. Then comes a short visit with Richard Feynman that fails to explore his quirkiness or why he thought small was the wave of the future, and next a long litany of how nanoscience will affect everything from medical research to hockey sticks and cosmetics. But when you have to write to your audience, “I don’t know about you, but I think the idea of using magnetism to focus a beam of electrons on an atom is really cool,” that’s what is known as dead in the water.

For so little a subject, such a crushing weight of words. (Nonfiction enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: July 30, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: 2Lux Media

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012


Telgemeier has created an utterly charming graphic memoir of tooth trauma, first crushes and fickle friends, sweetly reminiscent of Judy Blume’s work. One night, Raina trips and falls after a Girl Scout meeting, knocking out her two front teeth. This leads to years of painful surgeries, braces, agonizing root canals and other oral atrocities. Her friends offer little solace through this trying ordeal, spending more of their time teasing than comforting her. After years of these girls’ constant belittling, Raina branches out and finds her own voice and a new group of friends. Young girls will relate to her story, and her friend-angst is palpable. Readers should not overlook this seemingly simply drawn work; the strong writing and emotionally expressive characters add an unexpected layer of depth. As an afterword, the author includes a photo of her smiling, showing off the results of all of the years of pain she endured. Irresistible, funny and touching—a must read for all teenage girls, whether en-braced or not. (Graphic memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-13205-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Bantam Discovery

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010


Bishop’s spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). The frog, only two inches long, is enormous in this title; it appears along with other nocturnal residents of the rain forests of Central America, including the iguana, ant, katydid, caterpillar, and moth. In a final section, Cowley explains how small the frog is and aspects of its life cycle. The main text, however, is an afterthought to dramatic events in the photos, e.g., “But the red-eyed tree frog has been asleep all day. It wakes up hungry. What will it eat? Here is an iguana. Frogs do not eat iguanas.” Accompanying an astonishing photograph of the tree frog leaping away from a boa snake are three lines (“The snake flicks its tongue. It tastes frog in the air. Look out, frog!”) that neither advance nor complement the action. The layout employs pale and deep green pages and typeface, and large jewel-like photographs in which green and red dominate. The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-87175-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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