The subjects may have been gutsy, but the book is only average.

PALEONTOLOGISTS

WITH STEM PROJECTS FOR KIDS

From the Gutsy Girls Go for Science series

As one of a new series that offers information on science careers for girls who aspire to one, this effort explores the field of paleontology, focusing on women who worked or are working in that discipline.

Via brief biographies of five groundbreaking, white, female paleontologists—Mary Anning, Mignon Talbot, Tilly Edinger, Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, and Mary Leakey—Gibson also delivers both a short history of the study of fossils and a smattering of information on the related science. There’s a feel of overcompensation to the busily designed pages, which feature an overabundance of exclamation points. Even though all of these women made enormous (often unrecognized) contributions to paleontology, the sweeping claim that early paleontologists William Smith and Georges Cuvier “owed much of their success to the great fossil finder Mary Anning” goes largely unsubstantiated. Most sections include a timeline of the biographee’s life, a “Wonder Why?” section—questions for readers to reflect upon—and a quiz or science experiment, some better than others. Scattered throughout are numerous QR codes linking to websites; for those young readers without smartphones, a “QR code glossary” in the backmatter provides URLs. [Editor's note: The original review, published in our July 15, 2019, issue and based on preliminary materials, inaccurately stated that URLs were not provided.] Numerous photographs and Shululu’s stylized illustrations round out the presentation. Readers will note that though Leakey and Kielan-Jaworowska are shown in photos to be dark-haired, Shululu depicts them in adulthood as blondes. Publishing simultaneously are Astronauts, Engineers, and Programmers.

The subjects may have been gutsy, but the book is only average. (glossary, further resources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61930-790-2

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Nomad Press

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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 stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts.

YOUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE

From a Caldecott and Sibert honoree, an invitation to take a mind-expanding journey from the surface of our planet to the furthest reaches of the observable cosmos.

Though Chin’s assumption that we are even capable of understanding the scope of the universe is quixotic at best, he does effectively lead viewers on a journey that captures a sense of its scale. Following the model of Kees Boeke’s classic Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps (1957), he starts with four 8-year-old sky watchers of average height (and different racial presentations). They peer into a telescope and then are comically startled by the sudden arrival of an ostrich that is twice as tall…and then a giraffe that is over twice as tall as that…and going onward and upward, with ellipses at each page turn connecting the stages, past our atmosphere and solar system to the cosmic web of galactic superclusters. As he goes, precisely drawn earthly figures and features in the expansive illustrations give way to ever smaller celestial bodies and finally to glimmering swirls of distant lights against gulfs of deep black before ultimately returning to his starting place. A closing recap adds smaller images and additional details. Accompanying the spare narrative, valuable side notes supply specific lengths or distances and define their units of measure, accurately explain astronomical phenomena, and close with the provocative observation that “the observable universe is centered on us, but we are not in the center of the entire universe.”

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts. (afterword, websites, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4623-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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