ON THE TRAIL OF THE KOMODO DRAGON

AND OTHER EXPLORATIONS OF SCIENCE IN ACTION

Eleven animal mysteries that were the subjects of magazine pieces in “Highlights for Children” have been gathered and updated in this volume. Among the topics are how horses sleep, how cats survive high falls, how snakes use their tongues to smell, and how the giraffe gets blood to the brain. Myers provides background information, states the science question, and describes the ingenious ways scientists work. In some cases, the findings on one animal are generalized, e.g., by studying how the enormous, cold blooded leatherback turtle maintains body heat, scientists speculate on how the dinosaurs—also thought to be cold-blooded—grew. Some readers may feel uneasy about hummingbirds kept in restraints while their heartbeats are measured, antelopes forced to run on treadmills while wearing gas masks, and fireflies chopped up for the study of luciferin—practices that the author describes without endorsing. The text is challenging; Myers bases his writings on resources rarely available to young readers, all listed in the bibliography. For motivated science enthusiasts, much of the information will be fascinating. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-56397-761-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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THE PUMPKIN BOOK

The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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