Frequently asked questions about the weather are answered by the author who created Earthlings: Inside and Out (1999). The fussy layout, with four or more colored boxes on each double-page spread, and fanciful illustrations moving in and out of the pages, makes this a quick pick-up for casual browsing, but a difficult read. Wyatt tries to explain hard questions with brief answers. For example, she tackles “Why is it so hot in some places and so cold in others?” in five brief paragraphs, saying: “Whether you freeze or fry depends on a lot of things.” She lists how close you are to the equator, and whether you live near a large body of water. On the next page she indicates “mountains can make the weather wetter—or drier—than nearby areas.” But never clarifies the effect wet and dry have on temperature. She concludes: “So where you live has a lot to do with how hot or cold—and how rainy or dry—it is.” The illustrations by newcomer Share are glossy and often humorous, but they don't support the text. For example, for the question above, he shows a globe with a snow-suited child standing at the Arctic and a penguin with swimming trunks on a recliner near Mexico. A side bar shows a thermometer with a separate question, and the companion page shows red and blue cloud boxers bumping, and a mountain with rain on one side and dry land on the other. Other pages show flying penguins, toilets, tires, and parrots as well as camels in baseball caps. It's goofy, but why? Colorful and clever, but hard to understand. (glossary, cloud chart, extreme weather guide, snow chart, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-55074-582-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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



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...



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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