LIGHTS OUT

Another blue-ribbon winner from Geisert, this one is a kinetic wonder. The first page sets the stage for the mechanical caper: “My parents make me turn off the light at eight. They know I’m afraid to go to sleep unless the light is on. They said, ‘If you can figure something out—go ahead.’ So I did.” As the innocent-looking piglet pulls the light cord, it launches a series of wordless scenes depicting a Rube Goldberg contraption setting off a domino effect that finally ends in the basement where pulleys and levers release a bat and ball rigged up to the third floor, turning off the lamp beside the bed—just as the pig has fallen asleep. Kids and adults alike will be enthralled as they trace each of the 29 steps. Combining the fascination of A Giant Ball of String (2002) with the precision of The Etcher’s Studio (1997) and the reader involvement of Mystery (2003), the actions and reactions are realistic enough to wonder if Geisert built an actual working model. From the mechanical drawings on the bedroom walls to the cutaway scenes detailing each piece of the apparatus, this is imaginatively, ingeniously inventive. (legend of each step) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-47892-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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