A low-key but heartfelt call to appreciate the Earth’s unspoiled places.

READ REVIEW

WILD WORLD

An album of natural habitats currently being threatened by human activity.

For each of 13 select environments, including “Arctic,” “Deep sea,” “Moorland,” and “The Outback,” the Danish illustrators create a broad landscape view with plenty of native flora and fauna either openly visible or peering from partial concealment. Matte colors and flat planes make for striking compositions; the lack of modeling and depth serve to grant flora and fauna equal weight in readers’ eyes. With the names of most (not all, oddly) of the wildlife present printed in italics to create links with the art, McAllister captures the character of each setting in measured free verse: In a “Rainforest,” for instance, “Lush leaves searching for a glimmer in the gloom” are the “Haunt of mighty gorilla, poisonous frog, / And slithering python,” while on the “Prairie,” “nature plays the drama queen— / Swift in anger to curse with drought, / Blast a scouring wind, / Spin a fury of tornadoes.” The author saves her message for a closing section, in which she notes how each habitat is shrinking due to human use, pollution, or climate change. She then closes by urging readers to conserve energy, recycle, and generally care for the planet. “Explore it, protect it, love it. / Our Earth is a wonderful wild world.”

A low-key but heartfelt call to appreciate the Earth’s unspoiled places. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-84780-966-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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It’s not the most dramatic version, but it’s a visually effective and serviceable addition to the rapidly growing shelf of...

THE FIRST MEN WHO WENT TO THE MOON

A 50th-anniversary commemoration of the epochal Apollo 11 mission.

Modeling her account on “The House That Jack Built” (an unspoken, appropriate nod to President John F. Kennedy’s foundational role in the enterprise), Greene takes Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins from liftoff to post-splashdown ticker-tape parade. Side notes on some spreads and two pages of further facts with photographs at the end, all in smaller type, fill in select details about the mission and its historical context. The rhymed lines are fully cumulated only once, so there is some repetition but never enough to grow monotonous: “This is the Moon, a mysterious place, / a desolate land in the darkness of space, / far from Earth with oceans blue.” Also, the presentation of the text in just three or fewer lines per spread stretches out the narrative and gives Brundage latitude for both formal and informal group portraits of Apollo 11’s all-white crew, multiple glimpses of our planet and the moon at various heights, and, near the end, atmospheric (so to speak) views of the abandoned lander and boot prints in the lunar dust.

It’s not the most dramatic version, but it’s a visually effective and serviceable addition to the rapidly growing shelf of tributes to our space program’s high-water mark. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58536-412-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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