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A SUPER STICKY MISTAKE

THE STORY OF HOW HARRY COOVER ACCIDENTALLY DISCOVERED SUPER GLUE!

A remarkably uninformative informational book.

Like many inventions, it seems, super glue came about by accident.

Unfortunately, readers are likely to be left with more questions than answers after reading this disappointing biography of the miracle goo’s inventor. Harry Coover invented the stuff, but his surname is inexplicably withheld until the end of the narrative. One irrelevant fact revealed from the beginning was his penchant for saying “yaba daba,” which is irritatingly repeated throughout the text. His favorite subject was chemistry, but readers don’t learn what drew him to it. During World War II, Coover “was asked to develop a plastic [that] needed to be strong, solid and transparent.” Why he was asked to do this, for what purpose, and by whom is not revealed. Coover and his team accidentally created a mixture called cyanoacrylate, which is now popularly known as super glue. After years in development, it was officially put on the market, and his adhesive found many uses. Veterinarians used it to mend bones; battlefield medics used it to stop blood loss; and detectives used it to collect fingerprints—though how is not explained. Engineers supposedly used it to fix a space shuttle, but how and which one are not revealed. Complementing the scant information are equally unenlightening cartoon illustrations depicting the White scientist in action with colleagues, some of whom are people of color. There are no source notes or bibliography.

A remarkably uninformative informational book. (timeline) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84886-647-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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FRIDA KAHLO AND HER ANIMALITOS

A supplemental rather than introductory book on the great artist.

Frida Kahlo’s strong affection for and identification with animals form the lens through which readers view her life and work in this picture-book biography.

Each two-page spread introduces one or more of her pets, comparing her characteristics to theirs and adding biographical details. Confusingly for young readers, the beginning pages reference pets she owned as an adult, yet the illustrations and events referred to come from earlier in her life. Bonito the parrot perches in a tree overlooking young Frida and her family in her childhood home and pops up again later, just before the first mention of Diego Rivera. Granizo, the fawn, another pet from her adult years, is pictured beside a young Frida and her father along with a description of “her life as a little girl.” The author’s note adds important details about Kahlo’s life and her significance as an artist, as well as recommending specific paintings that feature her beloved animals. Expressive acrylic paintings expertly evoke Kahlo’s style and color palette. While young animal lovers will identify with her attachment to her pets and may enjoy learning about the Aztec origins of her Xolo dogs and the meaning of turkeys in ancient Mexico, the book may be of most interest to those who already have an interest in Kahlo’s life.

A supplemental rather than introductory book on the great artist. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4269-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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BASKETBALL DREAMS

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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