LIFTOFF

A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN GLENN

Written with the clearly stated intent of inspiring readers to enter public service, this profile presents Glenn’s achievements, both on and off the planet, as the direct results of a lifelong commitment to larger causes. Opening with Glenn’s small-town upbringing (amid “a wholesome mixture of patriotism and a strong sense of community”), and closing with his 2004 testimony against the proposed flag-desecration amendment, Mitchell follows his career from pilot to astronaut to politician back to 1998, at the age of 77, astronaut again. Free of any reference to the “Right Stuff,” and so focused on the supposed scientific rationale of his return to space that its self-indulgent aspect goes likewise unmentioned, this cannot be characterized as an unbiased portrait. But Glenn’s family is present enough here to give the Senator a bit of human dimension, and in the end, he is an authentic American hero, whose exploits require no exaggeration to impress. Illustrated with plenty of large black-and-white photos and punctuated with motivational quotes, this presents a simplified but appealing alternative to the plethora of existing assignment-fodder biographies. (multimedia resource list) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-7922-5899-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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WEATHER

Remarking that ``nothing about the weather is very simple,'' Simon goes on to describe how the sun, atmosphere, earth's rotation, ground cover, altitude, pollution, and other factors influence it; briefly, he also tells how weather balloons gather information. Even for this outstanding author, it's a tough, complex topic, and he's not entirely successful in simplifying it; moreover, the import of the striking uncaptioned color photos here isn't always clear. One passage—``Cumulus clouds sometimes build up into towering masses called cumulus congestus, or swelling cumulus, which may turn into cumulonimbus clouds''—is superimposed on a blue-gray, cloud-covered landscape. But which kind of clouds are these? Another photo, in blue-black and white, shows what might be precipitation in the upper atmosphere, or rain falling on a darkened landscape, or...? Generally competent and certainly attractive, but not Simon's best. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-10546-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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