WE ARE THE WEATHER MAKERS

THE HISTORY OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Arguing that climate change and global warming affect us all and that we can be part of the solution, this comprehensive look at the issue includes a clear explanation of the mechanism of the carbon cycle, the role of greenhouse gases on Earth, historical instances of climate change and their causes, descriptions of effects on a variety of habitats, future scenarios and suggestions—both personal and global—about what might be done. An adaptation for teen readers of Flannery’s highly regarded and influential adult title (The Weather Makers, 2006), Walker’s readable and convincing rewrite follows the original organization but tightens up the text, shortening chapters and addressing the intended readers with action suggestions between each chapter. It includes new research and four examples of institutions and groups whose actions have made a difference in greenhouse-gas emissions. Endnotes and an extensive bibliography support the argument. A copy belongs in every middle- and high-school library. (index) (Nonfiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3656-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2009

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Despite the author’s fervor, this story ultimately fizzles.

THE BIGGEST EXPLOSIONS IN THE UNIVERSE

A book for young readers about the science of astronomy.

Howard, an aerospace engineer, enthusiastically instructs readers on the intricacies of the stars–the “biggest explosions” of her title. Beginning with a primer on our place in the universe, she then guides readers through the birth of stars, star groupings, dying stars, supernovae, the lifecycle of the sun, “weird, wacky, and mysterious” stars and the most violent outbursts in the universe. Enticed by the explosive title, some readers will be especially interested in the more frightening aspects of our cosmos, and the author satisfies with information about the eventual death of our sun, and black holes. Her stated goal is to demystify the lifecycle and role of stars, and with the help of eye-catching photographs and relatively nontechnical language, she succeeds. However, while Howard’s passion for the subject is certainly evident, her ability to connect with her intended audience is less assured–her nimble command of the subject matter is in stark contrast to the awkward tone of the prose. At times, it doesn’t seem like she’s addressing young readers. She begins her book by instructing her readers to “pile the whole family into your car,” but it’s unlikely the average child reader would be licensed to drive. On one page, Howard give a complicated lesson on calculating the distance to the edges of our solar system in light years–two pages later, she talks about gravity’s effect on “puppy dogs [and] kitty cats.” Stranger still, she anthropomorphizes the objects she submits to scientific rigor. She claims “a star smiles with its light and dances with joy” and that when “baby stars” are born, “they ignite their smiles [and] give off a big cough and blow all the dust and particles far away from themselves.” Treating the stars as entities with discernable lifecycles is one thing, but suggesting that they have emotions is disingenuous.

Despite the author’s fervor, this story ultimately fizzles.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4392-1527-2

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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Vivid and occasionally gruesome but always engrossing.

BLOOD, BULLETS, AND BONES

THE STORY OF FORENSIC SCIENCE FROM SHERLOCK HOLMES TO DNA

Thanks to such popular television shows as Bones and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, forensic science is typically thought of as a modern, cutting-edge dimension of criminal investigation, but this fascinating history reveals that it has been practiced for thousands of years.

Two thousand years ago, Chinese coroners determined murder as cause of death through the examination of victims’ bodies. The ancient Chinese also pioneered fingerprint evidence. The first poison test was used in 1751 to prove that Englishwoman Mary Blandy murdered her father with arsenic. Heos adeptly uses many such real-life cases to chronicle the history and evolution of forensic science. England was the first country to require all coroners to be medical doctors, expanding the field of forensic pathology. English investigators also pioneered the use of firearm evidence to solve a 1794 murder. The rises of other investigative methods, such as criminal profiling, DNA analysis, forensic anthropology, and victimology, are examined in the context of such famous investigations as the Jack the Ripper murders, the Sacco and Vanzetti case, and the murder of the Romanovs in 1918. Heos also takes pains to discuss how often DNA analysis has been used to exonerate the wrongfully convicted.

Vivid and occasionally gruesome but always engrossing. (photos, glossary, notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-238762-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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