Anecdotal, loopily organized, but engaging. And chewy! (glossary, acknowledgments, endnotes with resources, index)...

THE SLOWEST BOOK EVER

Sayre beckons kids to investigate and ruminate on slow-moving animals, slow-growing plants, slow motion, and plenty more.

In loosely arranged sections, the author adopts a conversational style to both inform and amuse curious students. She covers expected topics, such as the centuries-old sequoia tree, the land snail, and slow-forming geologic wonders like the Grand Canyon. But refreshing, often fleeting twists of topic, delivered with repeated exhortations for kids to slow down, ponder, and study, combine for a galloping volume that respects children as capable scientific thinkers. Sayre examines time’s effect on natural materials, from the Statue of Liberty’s copper to the erosion of gravestones. The origins of the air and water that compose human bodies get a look, as does the biology of intentionally slow practices such as tai chi and yoga. The concept of “slow” in art and culture—evidenced in the slow-food movement, the art of bonsai, and John Cage’s composition “As Slow as Possible” (which will last about 639 years)—is playfully introduced. Current scientists and their work are interwoven. Murphy’s cartoonish illustrations provide more humor than elucidation. The whole shebang winds up in outer space, where Sayre introduces concepts like light-years and dark matter and calls on kids to think “big, slow, chewy thoughts” about the expanding universe.

Anecdotal, loopily organized, but engaging. And chewy! (glossary, acknowledgments, endnotes with resources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62091-783-1

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

FLASH FACTS

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more