A history of transportation, indeed, and a book of wonders as well.

READ REVIEW

A JOURNEY THROUGH TRANSPORTATION

FROM HOT LAVA TO A SPY ROCKET

From the Follow the Link series

From putting one foot in front of the other to the X-37B space drone, Jackson and Shepherd combine to make the path of transportation as wiggly-wriggly as a night crawler—and as crazily alluring.

Using an extended graphic format, Jackson takes readers on a circuitous and enchanting journey from the first to the latest developments in mechanized transportation. His approach is unusual but quite successful in explaining how various elements, molecules, natural phenomena, and human brainpower brought us to the wheel—via cave painting, blue lava, the invention of smelting, and the combination of copper and tin to make bronze. (He will also mention Hercules and the Hydra’s halitosis along the way, because it’s fun and it has connections.) Shepherd keeps readers’ eyes active with a vast array of cartoon depictions flanking a linear highway between main events. The pages are equally populated with byways: readers also learn why we have a.m. and p.m., the importance of the number 60 to the Babylonians, and how a knot came to represent speed. Plus there are all the forms of transportation to cover: land, sea, wind, air, each with its own arcana—snails that attached themselves to the bottom of ships also brought us the fabled Phoenician royal purple (“although it was actually a deep red”), which led to the knockoff red made from cochineal bugs.

A history of transportation, indeed, and a book of wonders as well. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60992-956-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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