A solid choice for both storytimes and STEM curricula.

SOLID, LIQUID, GASSY!

From the Fairy Science series

Like its predecessor, series opening Fairy Science (2019), this outing is an informative science book masquerading as a cute little book about a curious fairy.

Protagonist Esther is a brown-skinned, purple-pigtailed, skeptical sprite believing wholeheartedly in hypothesis and experimentation over magic and wishes. While her classmates learn spells, Esther studies the law of density, and if there’s a choice to be made between a microscope or a wand, Esther, of course, would choose the microscope. Through lively digital illustrations and an airy story, Spires gives young readers a conceptual invitation to the scientific method. Esther and her buddies ask questions, research, make and test a hypothesis, examine their results, then draw conclusions. As their schoolmates prepare for the spring magic fair, the young scientists hope to debut their findings on the wonders of condensation. But no one, including the teacher, wants to hear about silly logical theories when everyone knows that ice disappears in the spring due to the moon’s sneezes. With drollery and humor, Spires introduces scientific terms and theory. Included in the back of the book is an experiment about the water cycle that uses everyday household items, creating an interactive experience beyond the book.

A solid choice for both storytimes and STEM curricula. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-58144-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Excellent for enriching vocabulary, developing creative thinking, and enhancing a love of nature.

WONDER WALKERS

Ever wonder what kids wonder about?

Two kids, likely siblings, take a “wonder walk” outside. They greet nature with awe and ask themselves (and, not so incidentally, readers) questions articulated in language that is spare and economic yet profound and beautifully poetic. Only wonderstruck children, confronting nature’s gorgeous mysteries, could express themselves so intimately, creatively, and originally. Youngsters reading/hearing this book on laps or in groups, and grown-ups, too, will be charmed, enlightened, and moved by these breathless queries. Ponder: “Is the sun the world’s light bulb?” “Are trees the sky’s legs?” “Is dirt the world’s skin?” “Is the wind the world breathing?” Occasionally, the walkers summarize their thoughts with a solemn exchange: “ ‘I wonder.’ / ‘Me too.’ ” At last, the exploratory journey culminates with nighttime, which evokes a lovely question of its own. The simple text is composed mostly of the duo’s questions; spreads feature one or two queries apiece. Each should be carefully read aloud to allow for serious listener consideration and response. At the book’s conclusion, children may want space to discuss, dictate, write, and/or illustrate their own questions/ideas about nature. Luminous ink-and-collage illustrations are lush and vivid, perfectly suiting the text. The pair are kids of color, one with long, straight, black hair and the other with brown curls. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 37.4% of actual size.)

Excellent for enriching vocabulary, developing creative thinking, and enhancing a love of nature. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-10964-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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