Convincing evidence that readers, too, might become scientists.

WHO IS A SCIENTIST?

Profiles of a diverse selection of 14 21st-century scientists reveal a wide range of specialties and avocations.

To answer her title question, Gehl introduces working scientists, spread by spread, with a relatively simple text and two photographs—one at work and one at play. From meteorologist to agroecologist to software engineer, from laboratory to desert to forest, her examples represent a variety of occupational fields and workplaces. Their hobbies—painting, cooking, surfing, playing basketball or soccer, listening to live music, and so forth—are equally varied. The photographs also reflect the world’s diversity: There’s a White woman with magenta hair and colorfully tattooed arms, a Black belly dancer in classic costume, a Puerto Rican champion of Indigenous food systems, and a White man who uses forearm crutches to get about in the field. A neuroscientist wears a Sikh turban; an astronomer, a headscarf. As might be expected with such a range, some readers may find some scientists’ names challenging to pronounce, but the backmatter includes a phonetic guide to every single name—even the neuroscientist author’s. A final spread summarizes what scientists do and invites readers to imagine themselves among this group. Both selection of information and presentation have been thoughtfully designed to appeal to young readers. This will be useful in many a second or third grade classroom, and the publisher has made a teaching guide and video available.

Convincing evidence that readers, too, might become scientists. (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-9799-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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