Another pointless entry in a series intended to inspire more than inform.

I AM ALBERT EINSTEIN

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The brilliant 20th-century scientist exhorts readers to keep asking questions.

Meltzer presents Einstein from birth through childhood and adulthood as one who always thought carefully before speaking and loved his head of hair. Apparently, one of the white-haired, mustachioed tot’s first sentences was: “My hair is so AWESOME!” As a young boy, he decides to figure out “Why did the universe behave the way it did?” From there, it is a fast trip to playing the violin, studying math and the famous equation E=mc2, which is not well-explained in the text. Of far greater importance is the exhortation that readers should value curiosity, difference and learning—all of which could lead to inspiration. There is no backmatter and no sourcing for a concluding quotation, but two pages of photographs are credited. The author provides no additional biographical information about Einstein’s incredibly multifaceted life. Eliopoulos’ digitally rendered cartoon illustrations are caricature more than representation. As in previous titles in the series, Einstein has a large, round head; his is adorned with the scientist’s signature mop of white hair and full mustache from birth. It is an oxymoron to include his life in a series about “ordinary people.”

Another pointless entry in a series intended to inspire more than inform. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4084-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A universal theme, developed in an unusually clean, simple presentation…and, at least, with no need for batteries.

TAP THE MAGIC TREE

Matheson invites readers to take an apple tree through a seasonal round using taps and page turns in place of touch-screens.

“There’s magic in this bare brown tree. / Tap it once. / Turn the page to see.” Making the resemblance to a tablet app even more apparent, the tissue-collage leaves, flowers and fruits that grow, mature and fall in succession on the scaffolding of branches “appear” following cued shakes, pats, blown breaths, claps and gestures as well as simple taps. The tree, suspended in white space on each spread, is all there is to see (until a pair of nesting bluebirds fly in at the end)—so that even very young children will easily follow its changes through spring, summer and winter dormancy to a fresh spring. Like the print version of Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (2011), from which this plainly takes its inspiration, the illusion of interactivity exercises a reader’s imagination in ways that digital media do not. Still, the overall result is more an imitation of an app than a creative use of ink, paper and physical design.

A universal theme, developed in an unusually clean, simple presentation…and, at least, with no need for batteries. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-227445-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more