A remarkably uninformative informational book.

A SUPER STICKY MISTAKE

THE STORY OF HOW HARRY COOVER ACCIDENTALLY DISCOVERED SUPER GLUE!

Like many inventions, it seems, super glue came about by accident.

Unfortunately, readers are likely to be left with more questions than answers after reading this disappointing biography of the miracle goo’s inventor. Harry Coover invented the stuff, but his surname is inexplicably withheld until the end of the narrative. One irrelevant fact revealed from the beginning was his penchant for saying “yaba daba,” which is irritatingly repeated throughout the text. His favorite subject was chemistry, but readers don’t learn what drew him to it. During World War II, Coover “was asked to develop a plastic [that] needed to be strong, solid and transparent.” Why he was asked to do this, for what purpose, and by whom is not revealed. Coover and his team accidentally created a mixture called cyanoacrylate, which is now popularly known as super glue. After years in development, it was officially put on the market, and his adhesive found many uses. Veterinarians used it to mend bones; battlefield medics used it to stop blood loss; and detectives used it to collect fingerprints—though how is not explained. Engineers supposedly used it to fix a space shuttle, but how and which one are not revealed. Complementing the scant information are equally unenlightening cartoon illustrations depicting the White scientist in action with colleagues, some of whom are people of color. There are no source notes or bibliography.

A remarkably uninformative informational book. (timeline) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84886-647-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A simple but effective look at a keystone species.

IF YOU TAKE AWAY THE OTTER

Sea otters are the key to healthy kelp forests on the Pacific coast of North America.

There have been several recent titles for older readers about the critical role sea otters play in the coastal Pacific ecosystem. This grand, green version presents it to even younger readers and listeners, using a two-level text and vivid illustrations. Biologist Buhrman-Deever opens as if she were telling a fairy tale: “On the Pacific coast of North America, where the ocean meets the shore, there are forests that have no trees.” The treelike forms are kelp, home to numerous creatures. Two spreads show this lush underwater jungle before its king, the sea otter, is introduced. A delicate balance allows this system to flourish, but there was a time that hunting upset this balance. The writer is careful to blame not the Indigenous peoples who had always hunted the area, but “new people.” In smaller print she explains that Russian explorations spurred the development of an international fur trade. Trueman paints the scene, concentrating on an otter family threatened by formidable harpoons from an abstractly rendered person in a small boat, with a sailing ship in the distance. “People do not always understand at first the changes they cause when they take too much.” Sea urchins take over; a page turn reveals a barren landscape. Happily, the story ends well when hunting stops and the otters return…and with them, the kelp forests.

A simple but effective look at a keystone species. (further information, select bibliography, additional resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8934-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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