Another remarkable work of scientifically based imagination.

THE SECRETS OF PTEROSAURS

From the PNSO Encyclopedia for Children series

In the castle of imagination, during the age of dinosaurs, pterosaurs ruled the skies.

This entry in an ambitious scientific art project from China featuring the work of the creative duo Yang and Zhao brings pterosaurs, an extinct order of flying reptiles, back to life. Flourishing in the Mesozoic Era along with the dinosaurs, these intriguing creatures were the first flying vertebrates. The opening pages of this album are similar to others in the series: They include introductions to the series concept, an explanation of the helpful scales and timelines that appear throughout, and specifics about pterosaurs, including the first fossil discoveries. Photographs of several fossils give readers an idea of the kind of material the artist works from. The major content is organized in two sections—nonpterodactyloid fossils and pterodactyloid fossils—which are further subdivided into families. Each spread introduces a genus with a portrait or a dramatically lifelike painting of the pterosaur in action in its habitat along with a short story and a memorable tag line. A text box includes body size, diet, period of existence, and locations where fossils were found. The stories often amplify these facts, suggesting how scientists might have determined them and imagining what was going on in the pterosaur’s life.

Another remarkable work of scientifically based imagination. (index, references, list of scientific art projects) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-61254-518-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Brown Books Kids

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

FLASH FACTS

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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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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