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A superficial profile of an accomplished changemaker.

A fulsome tribute to Guatemala-born scientist and climate activist Nicole Hernández Hammer.

Padron begins by connecting her subject’s childhood experiences with natural disasters—an earthquake in Guatemala City and, following a family move to Miami, the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992—to her later scientific studies but turns frustratingly vague when it comes to describing her actual work or achievements. Yes, she writes, Hammer has publicized how rising water tables have caused flooding on both “rainy days” and “sunny days” in certain unspecified south Florida areas, encouraged people of color in these and other threatened “frontline communities” to “tell their stories," and marched and spoken out for “climate justice.” What the term means or what inequities need to be addressed remain unclear, though, and instead of tallying specific local projects or proposals, the author highlights a single meet and greet with the Obamas in 2015 before closing with general lists of climate change facts and standard suggestions for budding activists. Her illustrations are likewise generic as she follows Hammer from childhood on to scenes in which she comforts flood victims, stands with a racially diverse crowd of protesters, and lectures a bored-looking silhouetted audience, a frozen-faced president and first lady, and a final set of general listeners with politely attentive expressions.

A superficial profile of an accomplished changemaker. (more information on Nicole Hernández Hammer, websites) (Picture-book biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 11, 2024

ISBN: 9781665913942

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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