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

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. 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016


The author of The Snake Scientist (not reviewed) takes the reader along on another adventure, this time to the Bay of Bengal, between India and Bangladesh to the Sundarbans Tiger Preserve in search of man-eating tigers. Beware, he cautions, “Your study subject might be trying to eat you!” The first-person narrative is full of helpful warnings: watch out for the estuarine crocodiles, “the most deadly crocodiles in the world” and the nine different kinds of dangerous sharks, and the poisonous sea snakes, more deadly than the cobra. Interspersed are stories of the people who live in and around the tiger preserve, information on the ecology of the mangrove swamp, myths and legends, and true life accounts of man-eating tigers. (Fortunately, these tigers don’t eat women or children.) The author is clearly on the side of the tigers as she states: “Even if you added up all the people that sick tigers were forced to eat, you wouldn’t get close to the number of tigers killed by people.” She introduces ideas as to why Sundarbans tigers eat so many people, including the theory, “When they attack people, perhaps they are trying to protect the land that they own. And maybe, as the ancient legend says, the tiger really is watching over the forest—for everyone’s benefit.” There are color photographs on every page, showing the landscape, people, and a variety of animals encountered, though glimpses of the tigers are fleeting. The author concludes with some statistics on tigers, information on organizations working to protect them, and a brief bibliography and index. The dramatic cover photo of the tiger will attract readers, and the lively prose will keep them engaged. An appealing science adventure. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-618-07704-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001


In this glossy photo essay, the author briefly recounts the study and exploration of the moon, beginning with Stonehenge and concluding with the 1998–99 unmanned probe, Lunar Prospector. Most of the dramatic photographs come from NASA and will introduce a new generation of space enthusiasts to the past missions of Project Mercury, Gemini, and most especially the moon missions, Apollo 1–17. There are plenty of photographs of various astronauts in space capsules, space suits, and walking on the moon. Sometimes photographs are superimposed one on another, making it difficult to read. For example, one photograph shows the command module Columbia as photographed from the lunar module and an insert shows the 15-layer space suit and gear Neil Armstrong would wear for moonwalking. That’s a lot to process on one page. Still, the awesome images of footprints on the moon, raising the American flag, and earthrise from the moon, cannot help but raise shivers. The author concludes with a timeline of exploration, Web sites, recommended books, and picture credits. For NASA memorabilia collectors, end papers show the Apollo space badges for missions 11–17. Useful for replacing aging space titles. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-57091-408-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

Close Quickview