A rare misfire from Sayre.




An eclectic collection of photos of architecture is linked by simple rhymes in large type, highlighting the visual confluence of engineering and art.

A photo depicting electrical wires against a building with corrugated siding is accompanied by the text “Lines merge, / diverge, divide,” followed by “Science, math, art / live side by side” on the facing page, accompanying photos of a statue of a lion, a tiled wall, and a close-up of a grille of some sort. Similarly, curves, triangles, and other geometric elements are evoked in photos of skyscrapers, bridges, cranes, and sculpture. In places, the concept seems too advanced for the likely audience. “Structures transmit,” set against a photo of electrical transformers, is shown opposite the text “transport, / and power,” which accompanies four photos: of people riding a Vespa, a fire engine, an overhead view of a recreational kayaker, and a view of the U.S. Capitol with a school bus in the foreground. Readers will be understandably confused as they try to parse this sentence. Are the scooter, fire engine, and kayak to be read as “structures”? Is the picture of the Capitol dome a play on the word “power”? Most of the generic cityscape images seem to be of Chicago, with landmark structures from Machu Picchu, London, Paris, and other cities mixed in. A concluding spread contains questions for children to consider as they navigate cities.

A rare misfire from Sayre. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289331-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Science at its best: informative and gross.


Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A solid introduction to fascinating artists, some familiar, others less so.


Contemporary and historical female artists are showcased for younger readers.

The artists’ names aren’t presented in A-to-Z order. The alphabetical arrangement actually identifies signature motifs (“D is for Dots” for Yayoi Kusama); preferred media (“I is for Ink” for Elizabeth Catlett); or cultural, natural, or personal motives underlying artworks (“N is for Nature” for Maya Lin). Various media are covered, such as painting, box assemblage, collage, photography, pottery, and sculpture. One artist named isn’t an individual but rather the Gee’s Bend Collective, “generations of African American women in Gee’s Bend, Alabama,” renowned for quilting artistry. Each artist and her or their work is introduced on a double-page spread that features succinct descriptions conveying much admiring, easily comprehensible information. Colorful illustrations include graphically simplified representations of the women at work or alongside examples of their art; the spreads provide ample space for readers to understand what the artists produced. Several women were alive when this volume was written; some died in the recent past or last century; two worked several hundred years ago, when female artists were rare. Commendably, the profiled artists are very diverse: African American, Latina, Native American, Asian, white, and multiethnic women are represented; this diversity is reflected in their work, as explained via texts and illustrations.

A solid introduction to fascinating artists, some familiar, others less so. (minibiographies, discussion questions, art suggestions) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10872-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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