WIRED

Raising the awareness of any reader who’s ever switched on a light or wondered what those wires above the street are, Suen traces the long “dance” of electrons from a (water-driven) generator to a home’s plugs, lamps and computer screens. Linked by lines of a poem—“Humming, thrumming, / power’s coming / in the wires / in the wires / from big to small / to power it all”—her commentary offers simple but specific descriptions of how, for instance, step-up and step-down transformers work, what ground wires and circuit breakers do and even what’s behind those ubiquitous switch plates. With help from occasional discreet labels, Carrick’s realistic, low-relief collages follow wires over transmission towers and wooden poles, down through electric meters and cutaway walls. Suen closes with a list of safety tips and, for children curious about topics she doesn’t cover, such as the differences between volts and amps, or AC and DC, a handful of print and online resources. Audiences who find Joanna Cole’s Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip, illus by Bruce Degen (1997), too busy to absorb may come away from this more linear approach with a clearer idea of what powers their everyday infrastructure. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-57091-599-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2007

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THE FANTASTIC UNDERSEA LIFE OF JACQUES COUSTEAU

This second early biography of Cousteau in a year echoes Jennifer Berne’s Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau (2008), illustrated by Eric Puybaret, in offering visuals that are more fanciful than informational, but also complements it with a focus less on the early life of the explorer and eco-activist than on his later inventions and achievements. In full-bleed scenes that are often segmented and kaleidoscopic, Yaccarino sets his hook-nosed subject amid shoals of Impressionistic fish and other marine images, rendered in multiple layers of thinly applied, imaginatively colored paint. His customarily sharp, geometric lines take on the wavy translucence of undersea shapes with a little bit of help from the airbrush. Along with tracing Cousteau’s undersea career from his first, life-changing, pair of goggles and the later aqualung to his minisub Sea Flea, the author pays tribute to his revolutionary film and TV work, and his later efforts to call attention to the effects of pollution. Cousteau’s enduring fascination with the sea comes through clearly, and can’t help sparking similar feelings in readers. (chronology, source list) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-375-85573-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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