A love story to light and color, both educational and visually stunning.

A RAY OF LIGHT

An exploration of the workings and gifts of light.

Matter can be solid, liquid, or gas—but what about light? “What is it made of? How does it fit alongside everything else in the world?” Light is energy, and Wick’s photographs—huge, glossy, and crystal clear—glow with it. On the first spread, a shaft of light, a beaker of water, and some rocks appear almost mystical. Next, a close-up of a candle with its wick aflame is downright hypnotic; across from it, a sequence of small photos show a match striking a rock and flaring up. Later, another progression shows three incandescent sources—candle, bulb, sun—each in turn lighting a teacup-saucer-spoon arrangement that never varies in placement, effectively demonstrating how lighting alters color. The text examines incandescence, iridescence, refraction, the relationship between light waves and colors, pigments, magnification, heat, fire, and the sun—always clearly and in concert with spellbinding photographs. The radiant illustrations show color spectrums, light shining through and across various objects, almost-magic tricks of light, and demonstrations of light waves that use water as a visible symbol. Scrupulously, Wick acknowledges that photographs in books “cannot fully capture the purity and intensity of color that’s observed directly by the human eye”—but these will enrapture even readers too young to fully comprehend the science. A meticulous, adult-directed author’s note elaborating on the principles covered will help caregivers answer curious children’s further questions.

A love story to light and color, both educational and visually stunning. (Informational picture book. 6-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-439-16587-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SPACE AND OTHER GALACTIC FACTS!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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