Readers who have never thought of it before will agree: “Take care of your skull, because you only get one.” (Informational...

SKULLS!

A celebration of that thing everyone has to hold eyes, nose, and teeth in place.

Thornburgh urges readers to appreciate their skulls, which are not only “safe and snug, like a car seat for your brain,” but come with convenient holes for seeing, hearing, and chowing down on grilled-cheese sandwiches. Even without noses (which are “more of a cartilage thing”), skulls also give faces a good shape and, despite what some people think, really aren’t trying to be scary. Campbell’s cartoon illustrations feature racially diverse humans, animals, or crowds whose heads switch back and forth between smiling flesh and X-ray views with the turn of a page. Assurances notwithstanding, they tend to undermine that last claim—at least at first. Still, any initial startlement should soon give way to a willingness to echo the author’s “I love my skull!” A page of “Cool Skull Facts!” opposite a final, fairly anatomically correct image gives this good odds of becoming a STEM and storytime favorite. 

Readers who have never thought of it before will agree: “Take care of your skull, because you only get one.” (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1400-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Norma Dixon’s Lowdown on Earthworms (2005) digs deeper into the subject, but this lays fertile groundwork for budding...

WE DIG WORMS!

Beginning readers who tunnel through this upbeat first introduction will “dig” them too.

After an opening look at several kinds of worm (including the candy sort), McCloskey drills down to the nitty-gritty on earthworms. He describes how they help soil with their digging and “poop” (“EEW!”) and presents full-body inside and outside views with labeled parts. He also answers in the worms’ collective voice such questions as “Why do you come out after the rain?” and “How big is the biggest worm in the world?” that are posed by a multiethnic cast of intent young investigators in the cartoon illustrations. A persistent but frustrated bluebird’s “Yum, yum!!” and rejected invitations to lunch offer indirect references to worms as food sources, and reproductive details are likewise limited to oblique notes that worms have big families “born from cocoons.” Single scenes mingle with short sequences of panels in pictures that are drawn on brown paper bags for an appropriately earthy look.

Norma Dixon’s Lowdown on Earthworms (2005) digs deeper into the subject, but this lays fertile groundwork for budding naturalists. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-935179-80-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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An ideal lead-in to more specific guides to aquarium setup and fish care.

SOMETHING'S FISHY

A first introduction to our planet’s finny residents, particularly the decidedly uncommon goldfish.

Preceded by an entire piscatorial ABC that extends over six pages, two children of color lecture an audience of house pets (and readers) about such typical fishy features as scales and gills—properly noting that some fish, like certain eels, have no scales and some, like hagfish, no bony spines. The two then zero in on goldfish, explaining that they are easier to keep at home than tropical fish, originated long ago in China, can recognize the faces of people who bring them food, and with proper care live 25 years. All of this information is presented in a mix of dialogue balloons and single lines of commentary in block letters, accompanying cleanly drawn cartoon illustrations that alternate between a domestic setting and labeled portraits of various fish rendered in fine, exact detail. With easily digestible doses of biological and historical background, common-sense cautionary notes, and a buoyant tone, this is an appealing dive for newly independent readers out to enhance the household menagerie.

An ideal lead-in to more specific guides to aquarium setup and fish care. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943145-15-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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