A fascinating if focused look at an inventor and innovator who changed America.

FULL OF BEANS

HENRY FORD GROWS A CAR

Henry Ford is well known for the Model T and the assembly line, but he made many other contributions to the economic health of the nation.

He was also concerned with finding ways to improve farming methods and ease the heavy burdens of farmers. He built reliable tractors from spare car parts. The Depression exacerbated existing troubles. Ford already recycled and repurposed nearly everything at his factory and thought that he could find new uses for farm crops as well. He created a laboratory and hired scientists to study grains, fruits, and vegetables, and they finally determined that soybeans were the answer. The team developed soybean-based paint, fabric, and lightweight plastic that could form most of the parts for his cars. The vast amount of soybeans needed kept hundreds of farmers solvent and even prosperous. After Ford’s death, the soybean continued to be converted into dozens of products way beyond his initial plan. Thomas presents the facts as if in direct conversation with readers, with clear and accessible explanations. Fotheringham’s boldly hued, action-packed digital illustrations are bright and cheery; they depict an all-white cast. Extensive backmatter includes further information on Ford and soybeans, two recipes, a timeline, and further resources. Absent from both it and the primary story is any reference to Ford’s virulent anti-Semitism.

A fascinating if focused look at an inventor and innovator who changed America. (notes, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62979-639-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more