Rich in pointers but too reasonable to be a mind-changer.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND HOW WE'LL FIX IT

An encouraging, eloquently argued call to action.

Though rightly suggesting that “climate crisis” is a more apt term than “climate change,” Harman delivers an overview that is measured rather than urgent, focused more on general talking points than specific actions. Keeping “sciencey” terms to a minimum, she lays out general causes—mostly unrestrained use of fossil fuels and wanting “too much stuff”—and current and potential effects of human-engendered changes, including the scary prospect of unpredictable, uncontrollable climactic “feedback loops.” She then launches into a series of fictive exchanges between activist and reactionary talking heads on “problems” including corporate greed (“The ‘Just one more cookie’ problem”), conflicts between poor and rich nations (“That’s not fair!” and “Smelt it, dealt it”), and hostile responses to being told what to do (“Goody-two-shoes”). Acknowledging that “climate justice” is “a marathon, not a sprint,” she finishes up in a section brashly titled “The Solutions” by urging concerned readers to get off the stick but (savvy advice) not to have unrealistic expectations of either themselves or others. Her concluding promise that “we can stop climate change” runs counter to scientific assessments that the best we can do is slow it, however. Along with being diverse in age, race, and, to some extent, dress, the dozens of humans in Lozano’s cartoon illustrations include figures in wheelchairs and a same-sex couple. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-15.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 75% of actual size.)

Rich in pointers but too reasonable to be a mind-changer. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4277-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Sterling Children's Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.

EXPLORING SPACE

FROM GALILEO TO THE MARS ROVER AND BEYOND

Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark.

DARK MATTERS

NATURE'S REACTION TO LIGHT POLLUTION

Reflections on the ways that artificial light upsets patterns and behaviors in the natural world.

Galat (Stories of the Aurora,2016, etc.) spins childhood memories into semifictive reminiscences. Between recalling lying on her back in the snow at 10 to trace the Big Dipper and describing links between light pollution and several environmental issues as a grown-up naturalist, the author recalls camping trips and other excursions at various ages. These offer, at least tangentially, insights into how artificial lighting could affect nocturnal insects, sea turtle hatchlings, bats, and migratory birds, as well as the general hunting, mating, and nesting behaviors of animals. She closes, after a quick mention of scotobiology (the study of life in darkness), with a plea to turn off the lights whenever possible. Though she does not support this general appeal with specific practices or, for that matter, source notes for her information, she does offer a list of internet search terms for readers who want to explore the topic further. Despite illustrations that range from a close-up of a road-kill raccoon to pointless filler and passages that, paradoxically, are hard to read except in bright light because they’re printed over speckled fields of stars, this outing covers a topic that should be of interest to young stargazers and scotobiologists alike.

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88995-515-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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