A classic case study of crowd-sourced science in action.

THE MYSTERY OF THE MONARCHS

HOW KIDS, TEACHERS, AND BUTTERFLY FANS HELPED FRED AND NORAH URQUHART TRACK THE GREAT MONARCH MIGRATION

How the mysterious migration patterns of monarch butterflies were mapped from Canada to Mexico by scientists and volunteers.

“By the time he was eight, Fred Urquhart was a bug man.” Though Urquhart’s work has been well documented for young audiences, most recently in Meeg Pincus’ Winged Wonders (2020, illustrated by Yas Imamura), this brisk and lively account of his decadeslong search focuses on the role played by thousands of “amateur scientists,” particularly schoolchildren, of three countries in finally tracking the butterflies to their winter quarters in mountains west of Mexico City. Rosenstock fills in details about the monarch’s life cycle over several appendixes, noting both the worrisome fact that migratory populations have declined in numbers some 80% over the past 20 years and that we still don’t know just how the insects find their way over such a distance. Along with butterfly-strewn representations of Urquhart and his wife, Norah, both White, and groups of volunteers that are diverse in both race and age, Meza, who was born in Michoacán, Mexico, where the monarchs have special significance, especially to the Purépecha and Mazahua people, adds an afterword in which she describes visiting Michoacán and meeting the community that is collectively caring for butterflies through sanctuaries. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A classic case study of crowd-sourced science in action. (map, source list) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-984829-56-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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Together with its companions, too rushed to be first introductions but suitable as second ones.

MARIE CURIE AND RADIOACTIVITY

From the Graphic Science Biographies series

A highlights reel of the great scientist’s life and achievements, from clandestine early schooling to the founding of Warsaw’s Radium Institute.

In big sequential panels Bayarri dashes through Curie’s career, barely pausing at significant moments (“Mother! A letter just arrived. It’s from Sweden,” announces young Irène. “Oh, really?…They’re awarding me another Nobel!”) in a seeming rush to cover her youth, family life, discoveries, World War I work, and later achievements (with only a closing timeline noting her death, of “aplastic anemia”). Button-eyed but recognizable figures in the panels pour out lecture-ish dialogue. This is well stocked with names and scientific terms but offered with little or no context—characteristics shared by co-published profiles on Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity (“You and your thought experiments, Albert!” “We love it! The other day, Schrödinger thought up one about a cat”), Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution, and Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion. Dark-skinned Tierra del Fuegans make appearances in Darwin, prompting the young naturalist to express his strong anti-slavery views; otherwise the cast is white throughout the series. Engagingly informal as the art and general tone of the narratives are, the books will likely find younger readers struggling to keep up, but kids already exposed to the names and at least some of the concepts will find these imports, translated from the Basque, helpful if, at times, dry overviews.

Together with its companions, too rushed to be first introductions but suitable as second ones. (glossary, index, resource list) (Graphic biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7821-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too...

REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS

From the Children in Our World series

With this series entry, Roberts attempts to help readers understand that their peers in many parts of the world are suffering and becoming refugees because of “wars, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.”

The book also speaks about migrants as people who “leave for a happier, healthier life, to join family members overseas, or because they don’t have enough money and need a job.” This effort aims to educate child readers, reassuring them that “most people have a safe and comfortable home to live in” and while “it can be upsetting to think about what life is like for refugees and migrants,” kids can do something to help. Some practical suggestions are provided and websites included for several aid organizations. Companion title Poverty and Hunger, by Louise Spilsbury and also illustrated by Kai, follows the same format, presenting a double-page spread with usually one to three short paragraphs on a topic. A yellow catlike animal with a black-and-white striped tail is found in every picture in both books and seems an odd unifying feature. Mixed-media illustrations in muted colors feature stylized children and adults against handsomely textured areas; they exude an empty sense of unreality in spite of racial diversity and varied landscapes. By trying too hard to make comparisons accessible, Roberts ends up trivializing some concepts. Speaking about camping and refugee camps in the same sentence is very misleading.

While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too much adult intervention to be very useful. (bibliography, websites, glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4380-5020-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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