Appealing fare for STEM-centric flipping and dipping.


From the In a Nutshell series

A gallery of gadgets, gizmos, and groundbreaking innovations, from sliced bread to smartphones.

Concept definitely trumps content, as Gifford introduces in no discernible order an arbitrary 100 inventions in a likewise arbitrary 100 words (more or less) apiece. For each, Gu supplies brightly hued representations of a fancifully rendered version, often being used by racially diverse groups of figures sporting stylized features and a range of skin colors. The entries go back to prehistoric times to include the wheel, scratch plow, and writing but mainly comprise more recent innovations like printing and telegraphs, bubble wrap and search engines, lasers and plastics. Amid all these usual suspects lurk some lower-profile picks, from paper bags and Kevlar to the dishwasher and Barbie dolls. All of the inventions in the previous sentence and others besides, the author notes, were invented by women—in fact, for all the brevity of his anecdotes and descriptions, he’s careful to identify specific inventors whenever possible, and he also highlights any who are or were particularly young. Closing timeline notwithstanding, this isn’t offering any coherent picture of the grand sweep of technological advance, but the format will draw casual browsers and collectors of random facts. 100 Things To Know About Art, by Susie Hodge and illustrated by Marcos Farina, publishes simultaneously, taking a similar approach to visual arts, covering periods, media, techniques, and more.

Appealing fare for STEM-centric flipping and dipping. (index, glossary, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7112-6808-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Happy Yak

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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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.


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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