This will pique readers’ curiosity (and hopefully their gratitude at their privilege) but does not answer all the questions...

READ REVIEW

ADVENTURES TO SCHOOL

REAL-LIFE JOURNEYS OF STUDENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

U.S. readers who jump on a bus or walk a few blocks will marvel at what kids around the world will do to get an education.

In Canada, the child narrator helps his sisters onto the toboggan and then climbs on the snowmobile behind Grandpa. The four cross the frozen lake to the closest school, in Minnesota. In Bolivia, a teleférico connects two of the highest cities in the world, and it’s used daily by over 3,000 students. Other methods include a rickshaw (depicted here as a vehicle that looks like a cross between a jeep and an SUV) in Pakistan, a Japanese bullet train, and a motorbike (one adult and four children onboard!) in Cameroon. The Ethiopian and Ukrainian children face political and social dangers on their walks, and the rural Kenyan students must avoid Africa’s Big Five. Each journey’s description is allotted a double-page spread with a large illustration and the country’s flag. The sidebars at the edges, though, are often a jumble of unrelated facts that, though positive and possibly surprising to U.S. readers, add little. Many of the tales beg for more detail, and readers will feel the lack of a map and glossary. Backmatter includes a select bibliography of 49 resources and an update of some dangerous journeys previously broadcast on the internet. An authors’ note explains that the stories are composites and that they do not represent an entire country or even one specific season.

This will pique readers’ curiosity (and hopefully their gratitude at their privilege) but does not answer all the questions they will surely have. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0665-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Vital information for young media consumers; it couldn’t be timelier.

FACTS VS. OPINIONS VS. ROBOTS

Charismatic robots populate this primer for kids growing up in an era when facts are considered debatable and opinions are oft expressed loudly and without empathy.

Rex tackles a very serious topic infrequently addressed in kids’ books: how to tell the difference between provable facts and far-less-provable opinions. To do this, Rex employs a handful of colorful and chatty robot pals who run through enough examples to make the distinctions clear. For instance, it’s a fact that the blue robot has two arms while the gold robot has four. However, while they both like to dance, it’s less certain there’s a definitive answer to the question: “Which of them has the coolest moves?” When the green and yellow robots share their preferences for ice cream (yes, robots eat ice cream, just add oil or nuts and bolts), it turns into a fight that might have come off a Twitter thread (“We are getting chocolate!” “No way, buckethead!”). Via a series of reboots, the robots learn how to respect opinions and engage in compromise. It’s a welcome use of skill-building to counter an information landscape filled with calls of “Fake news!” and toxic online discourse. Rex never says that these ’bots sometimes act like social media bots when they disagree, but he doesn’t have to. Perhaps most importantly, Rex’s robots demonstrate that in the absence of enough information, it’s perfectly fine to wait before acting.

Vital information for young media consumers; it couldn’t be timelier. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more