There’s lots to see and do in this big city.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF CITIES

A set of panoramic views of the urban environment: inside and out, above and belowground, at street level and high overhead.

Thanks to many flaps, pull tabs, spinners, and sliders, viewers can take peeks into stores and apartments, see foliage change through the seasons in a park, operate elevators, make buildings rise and come down, visit museums and municipal offices, take in a film, join a children’s parade, marvel as Christmas decorations go up—even look in on a wedding and a funeral. Balicevic populates each elevated cartoon view with dozens of tiny but individualized residents diverse in age, skin tone, hair color and style, dress, and occupation. He also adds such contemporary touches as an electrical charging station for cars, surveillance cameras, smartphones, and fiber optic cables. Moreover, many flaps conceal diagrammatic views of infrastructure elements like water treatment facilities and sources of electrical power or how products ranging from plate glass and paper to bread, cheese, and T-shirts are manufactured (realistically, none of the workers in the last are white). Baumann’s commentary is largely dispensable, but she does worthily observe on the big final pop-up spread that cities are always changing—often, nowadays, becoming more environmentally friendly.

There’s lots to see and do in this big city. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 979-1-02760-079-3

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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