For detail-oriented future publishers.

HOW TO MAKE A BOOK

A “Brilliant Idea” becomes a “Brilliant Book.”

Davies and Hu devote just nine pages to the process of creating the “Brilliant Book” (in fact, the very book the reader is holding). Young readers may already be dizzy with the details of writing, editing, illustrating, proofing, and book design, but author and illustrator press on (no pun intended) to contract negotiation, printing, publicity, and more. The art and business of bookmaking is necessarily simplified for picture-book treatment, but the text is nevertheless impressively granular, even offering an explanation of four-color printing. The spreads are busy, with irregularly shaped, colorful panels helping to make the stages of the publishing process clear; many are festooned with arrows to assist in focus, and well-placed speech bubbles further help to delineate the action. But for all its accuracy and careful design, it’s hard to see this book finding a broad readership among the intended audience of 4- to 8-year-olds, let alone achieving the “global appeal” projected by the rights director. Chris Barton and Sarah Horne cover almost exactly the same material in How to Make a Book (About My Dog) (2021), with a bit more child appeal. The author presents Black; the illustrator presents East Asian; and the publishing team is fairly diverse.

For detail-oriented future publishers. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68464-340-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to.

HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER

Pearl and her robot, Pascal, take their coding skills for a spin at the amusement park in this Girls Who Code picture book, a follow-up to How To Code a Sandcastle (2018).

The park has many rides to choose from, and Pearl has 10 tokens to last her the day. But her favorite ride, the Python roller coaster, looks busy. Pearl decides to do something else fun, using code concepts such as variables to keep track of the length of the line and her remaining tokens and a conditional statement to decide when to return to the Python. Throughout, computer science terms are defined crisply in the text and vividly illustrated in the pictures, which use images such as popcorn bags for variables and the Ferris wheel for loops (keeping track of ice cream flavors seems somewhat contrived). The backmatter explains these ideas more fully. Pascal’s too-literal interpretations of Pearl’s statements make for several amusing moments along the way. When Pearl runs short of tokens (a missed opportunity to talk about checking for more than one condition?), she’s undaunted by the disaster, taking readers on a fun hunt for a secret hidden password, in a nod to the importance of proper sequencing. Pearl has brown skin and black curls; others at the park have a variety of skin tones.

Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-29203-7

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more