Children's Literature - Barbara L. TalcroftHere is another series, “On the Edge,” about the ugliest creatures, most dangerous jobs, extreme sports, or anything publishers believe will attract reluctant readers, especially boys. Brief text, garish covers, lots of pictures and far-out details are designed to draw them in. In this volume, Bingham highlights some famous historic escapes and more recent encounters with death during risky exploits. From the past, readers will meet escapees from such desolate prisons as Devil’s Island off French Guiana (one man called Papillon escaped using a bag of coconuts as a raft) and several from German wartime prisons like the forbidding camp Stalag Luft III and looming Colditz Castle; most were ingenious but unsuccessful. The Berlin Wall prompted many escape attemptstwo celebrated families made it to West Berlin in a homemade balloon. Closer to us, Frank Lee Morris is believed to have escaped from California’s rocky Alcatraz, while in Florida, a teenager outwitted his kidnapper. The remaining narratives involve amazing escapes from almost certain death at sea, in an ice crevice, or through the Amazon rainforest after an air crash. The most horrific story belongs to courageous canyoneer Aron Ralston, who, climbing alone, found his hand trapped by a falling boulder. He had to make the terrifying decision to cut off his own forearm and try to reach safety (younger readers might want to skip this one). His book and a movie, 127 Hours, re-create his ordeal. All the spreads offer very brief accounts, stressing dangers, disasters, and near-deaths, along with color photos where possible. It is to be hoped some intrigued readers might be inspired to uncover more details through research. A bibliography, a glossary, and an “Escape” quiz are included. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft; Ages 9 to 12.
Children's Literature - Hazel BuysIf there was ever an environment ideally suited to robotics, the vast, airless, frigid or boiling hot conditions of space exploration must be at the top of any list. Robots exploring space do not need to be supplied with food to eat, water to drink or air to breathe. Whether equipped with solar, batteries or RTG (radio-isotope thermoelectric generator), robots are the ultimate unflappable space traveler and are launched for a variety of reasons. Robots perform routine tasks on the ISS (International Space Station) or go on extended voyages to gather information and send it back from remote locations years away from earth. Scientists researching the future of robotics in space envision a space probe that will be the most intelligent space-bot ever, able to navigate on its own, avoid obstacles and identify signs of life. Parker condenses complex information into two-page spreads, each spread presenting an aspect of space exploration and the specialized robots associated with it, with clarity and imagination. Detailed captions accompany color photographs and expand on the information in the text. Sidebars in contrast colors present interesting information on specific aspects of the robots. This book, part of "Robot World" series, concludes with a glossary, a list of further reading, a list of websites and an index and is recommended as a resource in upper elementary or middle school classes on robotics and the role of technology in society. Reviewer: Hazel Buys
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews