THE GREAT STINK

HOW JOSEPH BAZALGETTE SOLVED LONDON'S POOP POLLUTION PROBLEM

Unearth the smelly, complicated history of London’s sewage system!

This informative exploration of London’s sanitation history will delight nonfiction fans interested in history, ecology, biography, and more. A brief account of London’s waste-removal system from the 1500s to the 1800s provides context before the book introduces Joseph Bazalgette, the future father of sanitation. Bazalgette’s journey is woven into the multiple cholera epidemics, the incorrect medical information, and the political challenges that defined the age. Backmatter further explains the connection between the London sewage system of the 1800s and the modern world. A bulleted list of information provides additional information about modern systems and suggestions for ways families can reduce water pollution. Keen educators and caregivers will find this a useful tool in lessons about ecology. The watercolor-and-ink illustrations make the most of the text, creating sweeping double-page spreads that depict the teeming city and the grandeur of Bazalgette’s work. The addition of skeletons intermingling with the living population drives home the losses of the epidemics—a message that won’t be lost on modern readers—and the inclusion of a range of skin tones will quietly remind readers that London has been a diverse city for centuries. Bazalgette himself presents White.

Far from stinky. (timeline, author’s note, further reading, selected bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4929-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 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 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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