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Book Review: Grades 5 & Up Nonfiction | November 2013

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Grades 5 & Up

redstarAGUILAR , David A. Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond. illus. by author. 192p. chart. chron. diag. further reading. glossary. index. photos. reprods. websites. National Geographic. 2013. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781426309489.

Gr 7 Up –This factual and beautifully designed overview presents new astronomical information that will enlighten and entice readers. Dazzlingly illustrated with full-color NASA satellite photography, as well as original art created, photographed, and computer painted by the author, it’s a page-turner. The use of analogies helps bring complicated information down to earth, e.g., a galaxy moves in the accelerating universe the way the person on a moving walkway moves, not of his own accord, but because the walkway moves. User-friendly tools such as a glossary and index help guide researchers to information and illustrations. The glossary defines terms such as “dark matter” (the unknown substance making up 23 percent of the universe, detectable only by the gravity it exerts). The index leads users to a fuller description of dark matter and expands the information to include dark energy, “a mysterious thing,” the existence of which was not even known until the late 1990s. The picture-book or coffee-table-book format (depending upon your point of view) makes this an attractive browsing item, but the accurate, factual information makes it an essential addition.–Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA

redstarROGERS , Stan. Northwest Passage. illus. by Matt James. 56p. chron. further reading. maps. score. websites. Groundwood. 2013. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781554981533; ebk. $19.95. ISBN 9781554984039.

Gr 5-8 –For a unique and exquisite view of the story of explorers’ search for a safe passage through the Arctic Ocean to the Pacific, look no further than this beautifully crafted title inspired by a well-known Canadian folk song. There are myriad ways to enjoy this sophisticated presentation: it can simply be read cover to cover. Immediately, though, readers will be drawn to the richly hued, primitively styled, engaging illustrations that abundantly and perfectly match the tone and varied emotions of the narrative. In a cyclical fashion, readers encounter three different strands of spreads: those that represent the original lyrics of Rogers’s song, those that convey historical facts and background on the expeditions, and those that depict James’s modern-day interpretation of himself exploring similar terrain from the safety of his VW van and terra firma while imagining the strife of prior expeditions. He addresses the realities of global warming and the ongoing struggles of Canada’s First Peoples to sustain their way of life. The large trim size contributes to the riveting visual and informational appeal of the book. Readers will find the musical score at the back, but for real pleasure and a way to lure students in, try using the Internet to access Rogers’s own haunting, harmonized rendition of the song.–Maggie Chase, Boise State University, ID

redstarTURNER , Pamela S. The Dolphins of Shark Bay. 80p. (Scientists in the Field Series). diag. further reading. index. maps. photos. websites. Houghton Mifflin. Nov. 2013. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780547716381.

Gr 5-9 –Turner’s newest offering tops even her stellar The Frog Scientist (2009) and Project Seahorse (2010, both Houghton Mifflin) as she delineates and explains the research being conducted on a unique clan of dolphins at Shark Bay, Australia. The lucid text reveals the complexities of this cetacean society, first as a whole, then by delving into smaller sets of male groupings and female/calf relationships. Researcher Janet Mann and her team arrived in Shark Bay in 1988, following in the footsteps of Richard Connor and Rachel Smolker, whose initial studies had attracted Mann to this special environment. Turner joined the team in their research expeditions and carefully documents such topics as foraging and hunting techniques, maternal care, social interactions (including sexual behaviors), echolocation, intelligence, and tool use. Individual dolphins get a lot of attention as well–Nicky, a bad mother; Puck, a terrific one; Reggae, a beach hunter; Dodger, an expert sponger, among others. Clear color photos accompany the text, along with two pages of “More About Dolphins,” a brief list of books/films (all adult), and a quick update on some of the humans and dolphins mentioned in the book. Readers come away with an amazing, if sometimes blurred vision of a culture different from their own, in an alien environment with language, mores, and behaviors that they can only partially understand, and a crystal clear perspective of scientists trying to interpret what they see. A challenging, attractive eye-opener.–Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

APELQVIST , Eva. LGBTQ Families: The Ultimate Teen Guide. 240p. ISBN 9780810885363; ISBN 9780810885370.

BESTOR , Sheri Mabry. Substance Abuse: The Ultimate Teen Guide. 208p. appendix. bibliog. . ISBN 9780810885585; ISBN 9780810885592.

ea vol: (It Happened to Me Series). further reading. glossary. illus. index. notes. photos. websites. Rowman & Littlefield. 2013. Tr $50.; ebk. $49.99.

AVENI , Anthony. Buried Beneath Us: Discovering the Ancient Cities of the Americas. illus. by Katherine Roy. 96p. Roaring Brook. Nov. 2013. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781596435674.

BRASCH , Nicholas. Conquering the Sky. ISBN 9781477713310; ISBN 9781477715048; ISBN 9781477715130. LC 2012043613.

––––. The Industrial Revolution: Age of Invention. ISBN 9781477713327; ISBN 9781477715062; ISBN 9781477715147.

––––. Leonardo da Vinci: The Greatest Inventor. ISBN 9781477713303; ISBN 9781477715024; ISBN 9781477715123.

MCFADZEAN , Lesley. Creating and Cracking Codes. ISBN 9781477713297; ISBN 9781477715000; ISBN 9781477715116. LC 2012043616.

ea vol: 32p. (Discovery Education: Discoveries and Inventions Series). chron. diag. glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. Rosen/PowerKids Pr. 2013. lib. ed. $25.25; pap. $10.; ebk. $25.25.

BROWN , Cynthia Light & Patrick M. McGinty. Mapping and Navigation: Explore the History and Science of Finding Your Way. illus. by Beth Hetland. 122p. (Build It Yourself Series). chron. diag. further reading. glossary. index. maps. websites. Nomad. 2013. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781619301948; pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781619301986.

CHINNERY , John. The Civilization of Ancient China. ISBN 9781448885022. LC 2012034519.

PEMBERTON , Delia. The Civilization of Ancient Egypt. ISBN 9781448885008. LC 2012033048.

QUILTER , Jeffrey. The Civilization of the Incas. ISBN 9781448884995. LC 2012029943.

ea vol: 232p. (The Illustrated History of the Ancient World Series). bibliog. chron. diag. further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. Rosen. 2013. lib. ed. $53.25.

COLLINS , Terry. Into the West: Causes and Effects of US Westward Expansion. ISBN 9781476502373; ISBN 9781476534039.

HINTON , Kaavonia. To Preserve the Union: Causes and Effects of the Missouri Compromise. ISBN 9781476502380; ISBN 9781476534046.

RADOMSKI , Kassandra. Mr. Madison’s War: Causes and Effects of the War of 1812. chron. ISBN 9781476502397; ISBN 9781476534053.

RAUM , Elizabeth. Expanding a Nation: Causes and Effects of the Louisiana Purchase. ISBN 9781476502366; ISBN 9781476534022.

ea vol: 32p. (Fact Finders: Cause and Effect Series). chart. diag. further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. Capstone. 2013. lib. ed. $26.65; pap. $7.95. ebook available.

DEFRIES , Cheryl L. What Are the 7 Natural Wonders of the United States? ISBN 9780766041547; ISBN 9781464402333. LC 2012009143.

GONZALES , Doreen. What Are the 7 Wonders of the Modern World? ISBN 9780766041523; ISBN 9781464402319. LC 2012009141.

GRAHAM , Amy. What Are the 7 Wonders of the Natural World? ISBN 9780766041530; ISBN 9781464402326. LC 2012009142.

LALIBERTE , Michelle. What Are the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World? ISBN 9780766041516; ISBN 9781464402302. LC 2012009102.

ea vol: rev. ed. 48p. (What Are the Seven Wonders of the World? Series). further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Enslow. 2013. lib. ed. $23.93; pap. $7.95. ebook available.

GITLIN , Martin. Vietnam War. ISBN 9781617838804. LC 2013932676.

HAMEN , Susan E. World War II. ISBN 9781617838828. LC 2013932680.

PRATT , Mary K. World War I. ISBN 9781617838811. LC 2013932677.

GRAYDON , Shari. Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know. rev. ed. illus. by Michelle Lamoreaux. 155p. chron. index. notes. websites. Annick. 2013. Tr $26.95. ISBN 9781554515615; pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781554515608.

HERN , Matt & The Purple Thistle Centre , eds. Stay Solid!: A Radical Handbook for Youth. 320p. illus. AK Press. 2013. pap. $20.ISBN 9781849350990. LC 2012937709.

LATHAM , Donna. Skyscrapers: Investigate Feats of Engineering with 25 Projects. illus. by Andrew Christensen. 128p. (Build It Yourself Series). chron. diag. further reading. glossary. index. websites. Nomad. 2013. Tr $21.95. ISBN 978-1-61930-189-4; pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781619301931.

LEYSON , Leon with Marilyn J. Harran & Elisabeth B. Leyson. The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible…on Schindler’s List. 232p. maps. photos. reprods. websites. S & S/Atheneum. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781442497818; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442497832.

LOVE , Ann & Jane Drake. Pandemic Survival: It’s Why You’re Alive. illus. by Bill Slavin. 122p. glossary. index. Tundra. 2013. Tr $22.95. ISBN 9781770492684. LC 2012951554.

MOSS , Wendy L. & Robin A. DeLuca-Acconi. School Made Easier: A Kid’s Guide to Study Strategies and Anxiety-Busting Tools. 128p. chart. illus. Magination. 2013. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781433813351. LC 2013005777.

PALEJA , S. N. Native Americans: A Visual Exploration. 48p. (The Big Picture Series). bibliog. chart. chron. diag. further reading. illus. index. maps. Annick Press. 2013. lib. ed. $19.95. ISBN 9781554514854. ebook available.

PATERSON , Katherine , ed. Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving. illus. by Pamela Dalton. 56p. index. Chronicle/Handprint. 2013. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781452113395.

SHANTZ-HILKES , Chloe with Decode, eds. Hooked: When Addiction Hits Home. 128p. websites. Annick. 2013. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781554514755; pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781554514748.

SIDMAN , Joyce. What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings. illus. by Pamela Zagarenski. 65p. Houghton Harcourt. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544106161. LC 2012047836.

VERMOND , Kira. Growing Up, Inside and Out. illus. by Carl Chin. 104p. bibliog. index. websites. Owlkids. 2013. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781926973890; pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781771470049; ebk. $11.95. ISBN 9781771470360.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Day of Dialog | Brooklyn
Coinciding with Brooklyn Book Festival, this special-engagement event on September 15 will feature both Festival and metropolitan-area authors with panels modeled on Library Journal and School Library Journal’s long-running and annually sold-out Day of Dialog events. Get the inside scoop on the hottest new books—plus book giveaways and author signings!