The illustrations in this sweeping tour of the world’s oceans provide more atmosphere than information, and so does the text. Confusingly using the old term “Seven Seas” without explanation to encompass all of Earth’s “oceans, seas, and gulfs,” Vieira takes readers to each ocean, plus the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas, tucking in quick references to the likes of Columbus, Cousteau, and Robert Ballard; the Panama and Suez Canals; oceanic flora, fauna, industry, and pollution, then closing with warnings that, for our “betterment,” we should exploit marine resources more efficiently. Along with this moot idea, Vieira conveys the impression that only European explorers crossed the Indian Ocean, and her blithe claim that “by 1800, all surface areas of the world ocean had been explored” ignores the search for the Northwest Passage, which went on for another half century. The illustrations are a busy mix of insets floating over rolling vistas of waves or deep blue undersea scenes. Perhaps it’s just too vast an array of topics to cover in 32 pages. Titles with a narrower focus, such as G. Brian Karas’s Atlantic (2002) convey a clearer sense of the oceans’ size, diverse biota, and importance. (glossary, maps) (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8027-8833-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

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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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A launch-pad fizzle.


Flaps and pull-tabs in assorted astro-scenes reveal several wonders of the universe as well as inside glimpses of observatories, rockets, a space suit, and the International Space Station.

Interactive features include a spinnable Milky Way, pop-up launches of Ariane and Soyuz rockets, a solar-system tour, visits to the surfaces of the moon and Mars, and cutaway views beneath long, thin flaps of an international array of launch vehicles. Despite these bells and whistles, this import is far from ready for liftoff. Not only has Antarctica somehow gone missing from the pop-up globe, but Baumann’s commentary (at least in Booker’s translation from the French original) shows more enthusiasm than strict attention to accuracy. Both Mercury and Venus are designated “hottest planet” (right answer: Venus); claims that there is no gravity in space and that black holes are a type of star are at best simplistic; and “we do not know what [other galaxies] actually look like” is nonsensical. Moreover, in a clumsy attempt to diversify the cast on a spread about astronaut training, Latyk gives an (evidently) Asian figure caricatured slit eyes and yellow skin.

A launch-pad fizzle. (Informational pop-up picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 979-1-02760-197-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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