A delightful story of a cross-racial friendship between two kids who realize how much they need each other and the passions...

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MELIA AND JO

STEM becomes STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) as Melia, an inventor, and Jo, a dancer, discover that they’re a dynamic team.

Melia loves to invent things and tinker all day long in her backyard. Then Jo moves in next door and dances her way into Melia’s inventing space. With total disregard for the sanctity of Melia’s creations, Jo flips Melia’s cereal-bowl radio onto her head to wear it as a hat, sticks a rope of black licorice into the neck of an unfinished robot, and chucks a paper airplane—that Melia is still designing—into the air. Although she’s miffed at Jo’s invasion of her space, Melia realizes that Jo has inadvertently solved some puzzling conundrums. When Melia shows Jo what a difference she has made, Jo refuses to partner with Melia…until one of Melia’s inventions saves her. Their contrasting personalities are effectively delineated in the retro-styled illustrations: Brown-skinned Jo wears a pinky-purple tutu, a pearl necklace, and feathers in her hair; blonde-haired, peachy-skinned Melia wears shorts and an orange cape and boots. The backmatter provides instructions for how to make Melia’s paper airplane and explains the benefits of turning STEM into STEAM.

A delightful story of a cross-racial friendship between two kids who realize how much they need each other and the passions that each brings to the friendship. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-91626-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Amusing and nicely on-brand.

THE PRINCESS IN BLACK AND THE SCIENCE FAIR SCARE

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 6

Princess Magnolia’s attempt at a monster-free science fair goes as well as can be expected in the sixth book of the Princess in Black series.

With the Goat Avenger on monster watch, Princess Magnolia heads to the Interkingdom Science Fair. While initially excited about her project—a poster showing “how seeds grow into plants”—and seeing her fellow princess friends, Magnolia’s soon intimidated by how ambitious and fancy the other royals’ projects are. Why, Tommy Wigtower even has a talking volcano—when his baking-soda–and-vinegar volcano didn’t erupt properly, he added monster hair. The resulting goo monster wreaks havoc on the fair, leading to appearances by the Princess in Black and the Princess in Blankets to battle the beast. Evicted from the volcano, the monster tries to find a new home, prompting Princess Honeysuckle, Princess Orchid, and Princess Snapdragon (all sans aliases and costumes) to help deliver the monster to the monster hole for a new home. While it’s great to see the heroics from princesses in full regalia, the final page hints that they’ll soon join in the alter-ego fun. Perhaps the best gem is when the science-fair winner is announced and the graceful losers offer genuine congratulations while resolving to try harder next year. Aside from white Magnolia, the cast is multicultural and multiracial.

Amusing and nicely on-brand. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8827-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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An object lesson in the value of patience as well as a droll introduction to meta-what-now.

THE VERY IMPATIENT CATERPILLAR

Not every caterpillar gets the memo—or is, for that matter, temperamentally suited to spending two weeks immobilized in a chrysalis.

Seeing everyone headed up a tree (“We’re going to metamorphosize.” “Meta-WHAT-now?”) a clueless caterpillar hurries to follow. Despite the promise of a dazzling transformation, every step in the natural process, from spinning a chrysalis on, is an occasion for histrionic dismay (“It’s STILL Day 1?” “This is taking FOR-EV-ER!”). Gradually, though, the pop-eyed pupa’s kvetching quiets, the moans and groans turn to meditation (“Be one with the chrysalis”), and two weeks later: “I did it! I’m a BUTTERFLY!” Burach chronicles this miracle of nature in cartoon scenes as loud as the rapid patter, culminating in a migratory flight of butterflies and a final “ARE WE THERE YET?!” that hints at a character transformation that’s perhaps less complete than the physical one. It won’t be just adults chuckling at the interactions between the title character and its patiently pupating companions; all the characters speak in dialogue balloons, the protagonist’s green with purple text to match its chrysalis.

An object lesson in the value of patience as well as a droll introduction to meta-what-now. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-28941-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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