A magical addition to the STEM shelf.

FAIRY SCIENCE

A precocious fairy promotes the fundamentals of science in this picture book that informs as well as it entertains.

Esther is a long-suffering fairy skeptic stuck in a world where everyone around her believes in the power of magic. Esther, who wholeheartedly believes in fact over fiction, is convinced fairy dust is dandruff, foggy omens are just condensation, and that gravity is in fact the law. When a tree begins to wilt, the young fairies all try their best wizardry to bring the sapling back to life, but Esther deduces the harm done to the tree through an experiment based on the scientific method. After discovering that the young tree merely needs sunlight, her friends are now inspired to ask questions. Of course Esther has a home library of books and materials to put them on the road to becoming good scientists. The colorful digital illustrations offer whimsical details as purple-pigtailed, brown-skinned Esther and a bird sidekick work to promote science. Speech balloons add extra humor. Throughout the book, actual scientific principles are introduced to young readers in a way that’s both holistic and fun, and the backmatter includes a seed-germination experiment. Fans of Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts (2016), and Charlotte the Scientist Is Squished, by Camille Andros and illustrated by Brianne Farley (2017), will enjoy Esther’s tale.

A magical addition to the STEM shelf. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-58139-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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