ROCKS IN HIS HEAD

A big-hearted true story of a man with rocks in his head (and in his pocket), nourished by the deep humanity in Stevenson’s watercolors. Hurst’s father was a rock hound. His mineralogical thrall started in childhood and he just couldn’t collect enough rocks. People said he had rocks in his head: “Maybe I have,” he said. “Maybe I have.” But he had to earn a living and to that end he ran a filling station, which did good business, and he kept his rock collection on the back shelves of the service bay. Then the Depression cut that business down, so the family moved to a ramshackle old house that her father had to fix up, but not before settling his rock collection up in the attic. He worked at odd jobs as he could find them, but on rainy days when he could find no work, he’d go to the science museum to look at their rock collection. One day the director of the museum has a chat with him, goes home with him to see his collection, and offers him a job as the night janitor, which leads ultimately to a curatorship in mineralogy. The purity of her father’s passion for rocks gives this story enormous power; he’s not expecting to make a buck off them, he’s just happy to be in their elemental presence. And through good time and bad, he’s like one of them—a real rock—to his family. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 31, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-029403-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so...

TOUCH THE EARTH

From the Julian Lennon White Feather Flier Adventure series , Vol. 1

A pro bono Twinkie of a book invites readers to fly off in a magic plane to bring clean water to our planet’s oceans, deserts, and brown children.

Following a confusingly phrased suggestion beneath a soft-focus world map to “touch the Earth. Now touch where you live,” a shake of the volume transforms it into a plane with eyes and feathered wings that flies with the press of a flat, gray “button” painted onto the page. Pressing like buttons along the journey releases a gush of fresh water from the ground—and later, illogically, provides a filtration device that changes water “from yucky to clean”—for thirsty groups of smiling, brown-skinned people. At other stops, a tap on the button will “help irrigate the desert,” and touching floating bottles and other debris in the ocean supposedly makes it all disappear so the fish can return. The 20 children Coh places on a globe toward the end are varied of skin tone, but three of the four young saviors she plants in the flier’s cockpit as audience stand-ins are white. The closing poem isn’t so openly parochial, though it seldom rises above vague feel-good sentiments: “Love the Earth, the moon and sun. / All the children can be one.”

“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so easy to clean the place up and give everyone a drink? (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2083-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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