From the Science Around You series

More foam than substance.

Ten easy-to-perform demonstrations of scientific principles at work in the bathroom are presented with short explanations and related facts.

This British import, part of the Science Around You series, features lively design and cartoon-style illustrations filled with bubbles, children, cats and mice. Clear instructions demonstrate the use of soap to make water elastic, the condensation of steam on a mirror, air pressure holding water in a glass, flotation, siphons, the bending of light in water, water pressure, water swirling in a vortex down a drain and skin wrinkling in a long bath. On each spread, the left-hand page contains the directions (three or four steps), while the opposite page offers a very short explanation of the results readers might see, plus a related quiz question, an interesting fact and a bathroom reminder. (“Don't forget to clean your teeth twice a day.”) Strictly speaking, these are not the “experiments” the author calls them. There are no assumptions to be tested or statements to be verified or refuted. The only question to be answered is “what happens if...” readers follow the directions. The nod to the scientific method is the suggestion of using a notebook to record observations. No special equipment is required, fun will be had, but little learning will result. Publishing simultaneously are Shadows in the Bedroom and Bugs in the Garden.

More foam than substance. (Nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-905710-21-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: b small/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014


From the Over and Under series

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.

In a new entry in the Over and Under series, a paddleboarder glimpses humpback whales leaping, floats over a populous kelp forest, and explores life on a beach and in a tide pool.

In this tale inspired by Messner’s experiences in Monterey Bay in California, a young tan-skinned narrator, along with their light-skinned mom and tan-skinned dad, observes in quiet, lyrical language sights and sounds above and below the sea’s serene surface. Switching perspectives and angles of view and often leaving the family’s red paddleboards just tiny dots bobbing on distant swells, Neal’s broad seascapes depict in precise detail bat stars and anchovies, kelp bass, and sea otters going about their business amid rocky formations and the swaying fronds of kelp…and, further out, graceful moon jellies and—thrillingly—massive whales in open waters beneath gliding pelicans and other shorebirds. After returning to the beach at day’s end to search for shells and to spot anemones and decorator crabs, the child ends with nighttime dreams of stars in the sky meeting stars in the sea. Appended nature notes on kelp and 21 other types of sealife fill in details about patterns and relationships in this rich ecosystem. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79720-347-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022


A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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