Budding scientists are likely to find the book more confusing than illuminating.

READ REVIEW

NOW YOU KNOW HOW IT WORKS

This guide to objects may leave readers with more questions than answers.

A plethora of common objects—most tangible and one intangible—are examined and their creations or uses are explained to readers. In theory, at least. The initial page presents a key to the flow of information in the book: A dashed line means airflow. Or energy flow. Or liquid flow. A solid line denotes the direction an object will move, a pattern of dots shows air pressure, etc. The guide is a child version of IKEA instructions—so visually simple yet so complex! Inside, toy figurines (of both black and white people) occasionally guide the action, while complex text explains the physics or physical properties of the object in question. The backmatter provides additional information, linked via words set in boldface in the main text, but there is no pronunciation guide for reach words (“filament,” “opaque,” “resistance,” etc.). The items described in the book are common but at times seem to be questionable choices: An incandescent light bulb—labeled “Light Bulb”—is shown and described rather than a compact florescent or an LED, and the energy-efficient models are not mentioned. Readers learn that crayons often get their colors from natural materials such as “slate,” “iron ore,” and the vaguely labeled “minerals” (implying that slate and iron ore are not).

Budding scientists are likely to find the book more confusing than illuminating. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-21545-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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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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