A splendid wildlife adventure skillfully conveyed.

THE MAGNIFICENT MIGRATION

ON SAFARI WITH AFRICA’S LAST GREAT HERDS

Montgomery journeys into the heart of the wildebeest migration with a wildlife biologist who has been studying these African mammals for more than 50 years.

Eleven chapters and a reflective epilogue chronicle a two-week visit to Tanzania’s northern plains with a small group led by Richard Estes, “the guru of gnu.” Montgomery, who has described many remarkable scientific field trips for the Scientists in the Field series, aims this report at older readers who can take in and act on her underlying message: “Throughout the Serengeti, our kind threatens the very survival of the migration we’ve come so far to witness.” Tension heightens as the wildebeest hordes elude them for days. Finally, a dramatic car breakdown in the wilderness is followed by “immersion” in an ocean of migrating gnus—a climax that would be unbelievable in fiction. Setting this particular safari in a larger context, and heightening the suspense, are interspersed short segments about Serengeti wildlife, poachers’ snares, the role of fire, “other magnificent migrants,” and more. The overall design is inviting and appropriate to the subject. There are maps, plentiful photos of African animals, and pictures and minibiographies of Montgomery’s all-white safari companions, both American and Tanzanian. Montgomery touches on the white-directed nature of much scientific research in Africa as well as pressures from colonialism and climate change but keeps her focus tightly on the wildebeest.

A splendid wildlife adventure skillfully conveyed. (acknowledgments, selected bibliography, note on wildebeest conservation and tourism, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 11-adult)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-76113-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Wordplay and wry wit put extra fun into a trove of fundamental knowledge.

BILL NYE'S GREAT BIG WORLD OF SCIENCE

With an amped-up sense of wonder, the Science Guy surveys the natural universe.

Starting from first principles like the scientific method, Nye and his co-author marvel at the “Amazing Machine” that is the human body then go on to talk up animals, plants, evolution, physics and chemistry, the quantum realm, geophysics, and climate change. They next venture out into the solar system and beyond. Along with tallying select aspects and discoveries in each chapter, the authors gather up “Massively Important” central concepts, send shoutouts to underrecognized women scientists like oceanographer Marie Tharp, and slip in directions for homespun experiments and demonstrations. They also challenge readers to ponder still-unsolved scientific posers and intersperse rousing quotes from working scientists about how exciting and wide open their respective fields are. If a few of those fields, like the fungal kingdom, get short shrift (one spare paragraph notwithstanding), readers are urged often enough to go look things up for themselves to kindle a compensatory habit. Aside from posed photos of Nye and a few more of children (mostly presenting as White) doing science-y things, the full-color graphic and photographic images not only reflect the overall “get this!” tone but consistently enrich the flow of facts and reflections. “Our universe is a strange and surprising place,” Nye writes. “Stay curious.” Words to live by.

Wordplay and wry wit put extra fun into a trove of fundamental knowledge. (contributors, art credits, selected bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4676-5

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Suggest to able teen readers who already have the appropriate background knowledge.

EYE OF THE STORM

NASA, DRONES, AND THE RACE TO CRACK THE HURRICANE CODE

From the Scientists in the Field series

A high-altitude drone built for the Air Force is repurposed to investigate hurricane behavior in a NASA–sponsored project headquartered at Wallops Island, Virginia.

This latest title in a long-running series looks at cutting-edge meteorological research with implications for the billions of people around the world who live in the paths of tropical cyclones. Opening with a chapter about the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, it goes on to explain hurricane formation and NASA’s Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel mission. Cherrix introduces the Global Hawk drone project and describes preparations for a sample flight over the intensifying Hurricane Edouard in 2014. Finally she shows how another tropical storm, the 1970 Bhola cyclone in the Indian Ocean, led to the creation of a new nation, Bangladesh. This is real science, which, as the author points out, takes time—time to amass and analyze data and then to submit and have it vetted before publication. But it doesn’t make for very compelling reading. Readers drawn in by the dramatic cover and opening description of a tragic teen death as a result of Hurricane Sandy may get bogged down in the scientific and engineering detail, which uses appropriate but unfamiliar technical terms and acronyms, defined in context but hard to remember. They may struggle to keep straight the many scientists involved.

Suggest to able teen readers who already have the appropriate background knowledge. (hurricane preparedness, glossary, chapter notes, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-41165-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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