A meaty but easily digestible overview.

REPTILES EVERYWHERE

An introduction to everyone’s favorite coldblooded, scaly land (mostly) creatures.

De la Bédoyère tackles her topic in pithy, systematic observations. She opens with a look at reptilian types and anatomy, then surveys both modern and extinct species, then introduces reptiles resident in the Borneo rainforest and other habitats, discusses feeding and parenting patterns, explores survival strategies, explains brumation and other temperature-control mechanisms, looks at sea-turtle migration, and, to close, interrogates our various interactions with reptiles, from fashion and science to conservation efforts. Using what looks like a mix of brushwork and painted paper collage, Teckentrup depicts dozens of flat but realistically detailed snakes, lizards, and crocodilians, all labeled and posing individually or in groups in natural settings. Regular invitations to count or spot dinosaurs, camouflaged geckos, tiny Brookesia chameleons, a baby Komodo dragon, or other creatures will tempt viewers to linger over scenes and take closer looks at the flora as well as the fauna. Though realistic, the illustrations are not without whimsy. A depiction of a pit viper sensing a rat’s body heat positions the rodent’s silhouette as if seen with an infrared camera, a cone of white extending down from the snake’s eyes; a mother timber rattlesnake looks protectively behind her at her brood of snakelets. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.8-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 60% of actual size.)

A meaty but easily digestible overview. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1707-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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Just the ticket for mechanically curious kids.

MARVELOUS MACHINES

A MAGIC LENS BOOK

A detachable acetate eyepiece lets budding engineers peek into buildings, the inner workings of vehicles from bicycles to submarines, and even a human torso.

Peering through the colored spyglass embedded in the front cover at Lozano’s cartoon scenes makes large areas of red stippling or crosshatching disappear, revealing electrical wiring and other infrastructure in or under buildings, robots at work on an assembly line, the insides of a jet and a container ship, and other hidden areas or facilities. Though younger viewers will get general pictures of how, for instance, internal-combustion (but not electric) cars are propelled, what MRIs and ultrasound scans reveal, and the main steps in printing and binding books, overall the visual detail is radically simplified in Lozano’s assemblages of cartoon images. Likewise, the sheaves of descriptive captions are light on specifics—noting that airplane wings create lift but neglecting to explain just how, say, or why maglev train magnets are supercooled. Still, Wilsher introduces simple machines at the outset (five of the six, anyway), and the ensuing selection of complex ones is current enough to include a spy drone and Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket. Along with displaying a range of skin tones, the human cast of machine users visible in most scenes includes an astronomer wearing a hijab. All in all, it’s a revealing, if sketchy, roll toward David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work Now (2016).

Just the ticket for mechanically curious kids. (Informational novelty. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-912920-20-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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