Readers after records should stick with Guinness.

ATLAS OF RECORD-BREAKING ADVENTURES

A COLLECTION OF THE BIGGEST, FASTEST, LONGEST, TOUGHEST, TALLEST AND MOST DEADLY THINGS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

From the Atlas of . . . series

Readers will gain a record-breaking knowledge of trivia.

Take a trip across all seven continents with explorers as they discover factoids galore. The explorers, one who presents White and the other with light-brown skin, travel the world, often accompanied by a local guide, gleaning information along the way. The pages depict surreal landscapes and maps featuring slightly anthropomorphized animals, such as a bindle-carrying bird and pirate hat–wearing caiman. Each double-page spread concentrates on one area and is splattered with tiny text that provides uneven levels of information. For example, in one box readers learn that cheetahs “accelerate from zero to 55 miles per hour in just three seconds” and that ostriches are “the fastest creature on two legs.” Great! But how fast are ostriches? The same page notes that a cheetah can “reach a top speed of over 60 miles per hour.” Wait! Isn’t it 55 mph? Other facts are equally vague. Readers learn that the Greenland shark is “the world’s oldest vertebrate,” but does this mean longest-living vertebrate or the vertebrate that has been around the longest? They are also instructed to hold their breath with a Cuvier’s beaked whale, “nature’s best air-breathing diver,” but aren’t told how long these whales can go between breaths. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.8-by-15.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 84% of actual size.)

Readers after records should stick with Guinness. (seek-and-find game, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5565-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Scientifically inclined readers will enjoy this in-depth application of STEM to disabled animals.

BIONIC BEASTS

SAVING ANIMAL LIVES WITH ARTIFICIAL FLIPPERS, LEGS, AND BEAKS

Gutiérrez profiles five “bionic beasts,” animals whose prosthetic body parts help them to function.

Matter-of-factly, she introduces three animals that each have only three legs: Lola, a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle from Texas; Mosha, an Asian elephant from Myanmar; and Cassidy, a German shepherd from New York. Pirate, a Berkshire-Tamworth pig from Vancouver Island, has a deformed leg; Vitória, a greylag goose from Brazil, lacks a beak. The animals struggled to move or eat until veterinarians, designers, and doctors teamed up to create innovative prostheses and orthoses. The prostheses’ complex design processes are clearly described. Sidebars provide animal facts and highlight various rescue organizations; the book’s bright yellow and green color scheme complements the accompanying color photos. Though technology is the primary focus, the author acknowledges political and environmental issues in the animals’ habitats, such as ongoing civil wars in Myanmar and oceans cluttered with plastic waste. Activities follow each profile. Some attempt to mimic the teams’ challenges by constructing mock prostheses from household items and exploring strengths and weaknesses of various designs. Others edge problematically into disability simulation, such as imitating Pirate’s walk “to understand how Pirate feels” without his orthosis; though well-meaning, the exercise risks encouraging pity for similarly disabled humans and feels incongruous with other, inclusive instructions: “if you are able”; “or observe a friend.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 69.1% of actual size.)

Scientifically inclined readers will enjoy this in-depth application of STEM to disabled animals. (glossary, notes, bibliography, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8940-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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MUMMIES OF THE PHARAOHS

EXPLORING THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS

An introduction to ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs buried in the Valley of the Kings. The authors begin with how archaeologist Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tut, then move back 3,000 years to the time of Thutmosis I, who built the first tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Finally they describe the building of the tomb of a later Pharaoh, Ramses II. The backward-forward narration is not always easy to follow, and the authors attribute emotions to the Pharaohs without citation. For example, “Thutmosis III was furious [with Hatshepsut]. He was especially annoyed that she planned to be buried in KV 20, the tomb of her father.” Since both these people lived 3,500 years ago, speculation on who was furious or annoyed should be used with extreme caution. And the tangled intrigue of Egyptian royalty is not easily sorted out in so brief a work. Throughout, though, there are spectacular photographs of ancient Egyptian artifacts, monuments, tomb paintings, jewels, and death masks that will appeal to young viewers. The photographs of the exposed mummies of Ramses II, King Tut, and Seti I are compelling. More useful for the hauntingly beautiful photos than the text. (brief bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7223-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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