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The SB&F Reviews page is updated regularly with new reviews. See our featured reviews below. Check back often for the latest science book reviews from SB&F.

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Featured Children's Book Review

Simon, Seymour.  Seymour Simon's Extreme Earth Records.  (Illus.)  2012. 60pp. $17.99. 2011045937. ISBN 9781452107851. Index; C.I.P.

Rating: **

Seymour Simon's Extreme Earth Records provides information about places on Earth where extreme conditions exist. The information is excellent and very informative with high quality photos and colorful pages which draws the reader in and keeps interest. With information on extreme weather, waterfalls, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, deserts, deep sea exploration and more, there is something for everyone. Comparisons to other planets and moons are interesting but on page 43, the author suggests shooting a water pistol off Verona Rupes on Miranda to watch the drops fall but at temperatures of ‑187° C (335° F) drops would freeze falling as ice crystals. Quality information about the adaptations of plants and animals in the extreme locations are provided along with scientific expeditions to the extreme parts of the planet.‑‑Pamela J. Galus, Lothrop Science, Spanish and Technology Magnet Center, Omaha, NE
Featured Young Adult Book Review

Downer, John. Earthflight: Breathtaking Photographs from a Bird's-eye View of the World. (Illus.) NY: Firefly Books, 2012. 240pp. $49.95. ISBN 9781770850392. Index.

Rating: **

 In these days of Internet access, does anyone still buy reference books? Let’s hope so, especially this one. A part of the Roger Tory Peterson reference series, this book provides an amazing wealth of information about the natural behavior of 51 widespread North American mammals, ranging from familiar species like squirrel and rabbit to species you will seldom see unless you go looking for them, like walrus and manatee. For each species, it provides information under the same headings—activity patterns, diet, habitat and range, communication, mating, development of young, social interactions, and interactions with other species. The parallel treatment facilitates comparison among species. Assembling all this information took some impressive research. The illustrations include both drawings and full-color photographs. The photos are of amazing quality and diversity, given how hard it is to find some of these secretive animals. The information includes practical advice such as what to do if a skunk gets into your house and what to do in case of a bear attack. It also provides rich descriptions for anyone interested in natural history. The book also notes gaps in our knowledge that might inspire some budding naturalist to make the appropriate observations--James W. Kalat, North Carolina State University,  Raleigh, NC
Featured Adult Book Review

Dickinson, Terence.  Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images.  (Illus.)  NY:  Firefly Books, 2012. 300pp. $49.95. ISBN 9781770851078. Index.

YA, C, T, GA

Rating: **

I expected a typical Hubble Telescope picture book when I received for review Hubble's Universe, by Terence Dickinson. However, this book proved to be a very well done exploration of the telescope, its uses, its history, its astonishing achievements, and its unique place in the science of astronomical observation. The spectacular pictures are certainly a major feature of the book but Dickinson takes care to compare the differences between the superior results from the Hubble with those of earth‑bound telescopes. A particularly impressive chapter explains six of Hubble's top discoveries which would not have been possible with earth‑bound telescopes. Dickinson obviously has a deep love of astronomy as he explains in the introduction and that message comes out in his book. He includes a chapter on the Hubble repair mission in 2009 that lengthened the useful life of the telescope. He ends with a bibliography of websites, DVDs, and books for further reference. The science in it is excellent, as a layman's introduction to some otherwise difficult concepts. This book is highly recommended for both the casual reader and the serious lover of astronomy.‑‑John O. Christensen, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT