Charmingly inspirational in tone despite a dearth of science heft.

MARIE CURIE

From the It's Her Story series

A slim, heartwarming graphic biography gives a capsule view of the life and discoveries of Marie Curie.

Little Manya Skłodowska, growing up in 19th-century Poland, studies in secret. But Manya and her sisters, drawn with big-eyed and cherubic faces, look out for one another. First Manya works to send her sister Bronya to university, and then, finally, it’s her own turn. At the Sorbonne, in Paris, Manya—now going by Marie—earns repeated recognition for her work. She meets Pierre Curie, and they fall in love. There’s space here for Marie’s loving and happy relationship with Pierre, for the family they raise, for her research and two Nobel Prizes, and for her philanthropy. The sexism Marie encountered in her life is lightly touched upon, and the xenophobia not at all. Pierre, as pink-cheeked as Marie and almost as wide-eyed, is portrayed as an A-plus ally pushing for greater recognition of his wife’s achievements; Pierre Curie’s actual Nobel lecture provides his supportive words. This tiny volume doesn’t delve into the actual science, but it’s likable and irrepressibly cheerful (even though it covers Marie’s and Pierre’s tragic deaths). The illustrations of these White characters are as simple as the text: cartoonish and fond. The periodic table in the illustrations is inaccurate both for Curie’s time and for today, which is a shame.

Charmingly inspirational in tone despite a dearth of science heft. (Graphic biography. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5037-5293-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sunbird Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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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

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A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SPACE AND OTHER GALACTIC FACTS!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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