BLIZZARD’S WAKE

Kate Sterling is alone in her house as the great blizzard of 1941 rages around her. Her father, Doc, and her brother Jesse are stranded in their car—snowbound. Zeke Dexter, the convict who killed Kate’s mother, has just gotten out of prison, and is out there somewhere walking in the storm. Kate has dreamed of Zeke’s return and of the revenge she will exact. Wandering blindly and nearly dead, Zeke happens to bump into Doc Sterling’s car, now almost drifted over. And Kate, determined to act, ties a clothesline around her waist, tethers herself to a fence, goes out exploring, and happens to find the car. The convergence of Kate, Zeke, and the worst blizzard in anyone’s memory makes for a good, well-plotted story, in spite of the coincidences that make it all work. Kate’s heroic efforts to save her father and brother result in the unexpected: her mother’s killer stranded in her own house. And when Zeke is injured chopping wood out back, Kate ends up helping nurse him back to health. Kate must come to terms with Zeke as a person and with her hatred as a debilitating emotion. With WWII in the background, the blizzard’s ravages, and the storms in the lives of the characters, this becomes a story about forgiveness and facing up to the forces in one’s life. Kate realizes she can stay true to her mother’s memory, be civil to Zeke, and not be consumed by hatred. A nice addition to this Newbery winner’s body of work. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-85220-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2002

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SCIENCE FAIR SUCCESS USING HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

Middle-school science students will find this title a useful jumping-off place for science explorations using readily available household products, including toothpaste, shampoo, soap, hand lotion, sun block, detergent, aspirin, and orange juice. The author begins with a review of the scientific method and detailed safety warnings, then presents a variety of projects, for example, evaluating shampoos for cleaning power, analyzing aspirin for the amount of active ingredient, and testing the vitamin C content of orange juice. The author notes all the experiments included are to help the reader become a more educated consumer and to have fun with science. For science-fair projects, additional research and elaboration would be necessary. Some useful extension ideas include investigating “anti-bubbles,” and exploring the scientific concerns regarding overuse of antibacterial products. One experiment, testing large doses of lipid-soluble vitamins on the ability of planarian worms to regenerate lost parts does not seem to provide sufficient safeguards for humane treatment of the experimental animals. A sturdy, readable, and useful title in the “Science Fair Success Series.” (brief glossary, further reading, useful Web sites, suppliers, index) (Nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7660-1626-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

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VIRTUAL REALITY

COMPUTERS MIMIC THE PHYSICAL WORLD

In the Science Sourcebook series, a clear and sensible approach to the wonders and mysteries of virtual reality, including its history and some possible scenarios for the future. Grady compares the state of virtual reality to the situation of television in its earliest years: Everyone thought it was great, but it was wildly expensive, and the technology had not yet caught up to the possibilities. He takes a tour through virtual reality's history, and describes its current uses, still in their infancy, in medicine, architecture, business, science, and, of course, fun and games. He writes quite accurately about the function of virtual realityessentially to fool the mind and body into creating a multidimensional experience from computers, software, and devices. While he doesn't delve deeply into the philosophical questions raised by this fascinating medium, he does mention them, and presents a coherent picture of the technology to date. (b&w illustrations, photographs, index, not seen, glossary, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8160-3605-5

Page Count: 169

Publisher: Facts On File

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1998

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