Rewarding fare for browsing, but David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work Now (2016) or National Geographic’s aforementioned...

READ REVIEW

HOW THINGS WORK

Revealing looks at the science behind over two dozen vehicles, household appliances, technological gadgets, and recreational challenges.

This arbitrary assemblage of high-interest topics—most but not all tech-related—is more portable than the hefty National Geographic Science of Everything (2013) but also more scattershot. It targets younger enquirers with a combination of loud graphics, eye-catching digital images or composite photos (chortles an elephant on a bicycle suspended in midair: “And Dumbo thought HE got air!”), and mixes of quick facts with longer, reasonably specific explanations of processes and physical principles. Subjects encompass hoverboards and invisibility cloaks in the “Beam Me Up” section, toilets in “Home Is Where the Fridge Is,” as well as the history and physics of erasers and glues, bicycles, tightrope walking, hybrid cars, copiers (only the 2-D kind, though), and bounce houses. Each of the five chapters also includes a profile of a modern scientist or inventor and an easy-to-do or -modify “Try This!” project. Both in the photos and the digital art human figures show an inclusive mix of ages, genders, and pale but varied skin colors.

Rewarding fare for browsing, but David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work Now (2016) or National Geographic’s aforementioned broader compendium will build sturdier foundations. (index, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2555-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.

EXPLORING SPACE

FROM GALILEO TO THE MARS ROVER AND BEYOND

Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark.

DARK MATTERS

NATURE'S REACTION TO LIGHT POLLUTION

Reflections on the ways that artificial light upsets patterns and behaviors in the natural world.

Galat (Stories of the Aurora,2016, etc.) spins childhood memories into semifictive reminiscences. Between recalling lying on her back in the snow at 10 to trace the Big Dipper and describing links between light pollution and several environmental issues as a grown-up naturalist, the author recalls camping trips and other excursions at various ages. These offer, at least tangentially, insights into how artificial lighting could affect nocturnal insects, sea turtle hatchlings, bats, and migratory birds, as well as the general hunting, mating, and nesting behaviors of animals. She closes, after a quick mention of scotobiology (the study of life in darkness), with a plea to turn off the lights whenever possible. Though she does not support this general appeal with specific practices or, for that matter, source notes for her information, she does offer a list of internet search terms for readers who want to explore the topic further. Despite illustrations that range from a close-up of a road-kill raccoon to pointless filler and passages that, paradoxically, are hard to read except in bright light because they’re printed over speckled fields of stars, this outing covers a topic that should be of interest to young stargazers and scotobiologists alike.

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88995-515-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more