Tommy Ong Ong itibaren Maksymykhyne, Chernihivs'ka oblast, Ukrayna
I love-love-loved her other series, so I had high expectations for this one. It wasn't as fun as I had hoped. I also have a hard time with someone who breaks the law for fun. Okay, so she did it for noble reasons and was able to fix things in the end, but I'm not sure I want to read about more heists. I probably will though. It was a good read, and I liked it.
A book, even a nonfiction book, isn't a Wikipedia article. Books have deviations, details, and distractions. They meander, or take unexpected paths. Do you remember reading the news story about the rubber ducks that all went over the side of a tanker? They went all over the world and scientists used them to learn all sorts of cool things about ocean currents. I remember reading about it in Scholastic News (which, apparently, covered the story no fewer than seven times). And it recently turned up in an Eric Carle board book I bought for my infant son, 10 Little Rubber Ducks. There's just something enchanting about the image of cheerful bright yellow little ducks braving Arctic waters and unfathomable depths to teach scientists something they didn't know. I can imagine, when Donovan Hohn pitched this book idea, the publishers ate it up. Unfortunately, for our imaginations and for Hahn's book, the story turns out to be almost entirely untrue. Yes, a container of bath toys fell off a container ship in mysteriously high seas. It broke up, releasing thousands of bath toys into the ocean. They were made of plastic, though; not rubber. And they weren't just ducks. A fourth of them were, but the ducks were part of a set of four that included a beaver, a turtle, and a frog. And while it turns out that scientists can learn about currents from container ship spills, they didn't learn very much from this one. But the legend lives on, and Hohn indefatigably tracks down the ship spill, people who clean up beaches, dedicated beachcombers, the factory in China that makes the bath toys, the psychology of rubber ducks, and those who study ocean currents. It's a good book in that it includes some striking characters, awesome information, and engaging anecdotes, but it's not really the story of the ducks. Which brings us back to the beginning of this review: a book isn't a Wikipedia post. This is the intriguing story of a non-story.