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IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED ON...MARS

From the If You Were Me and Lived in... series

A book that will expand readers’ horizons with its scientific foray into the solar system.

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Roman and Arkova’s (Can a Princess Be a Firefighter?, 2017, etc.) picture book imagines what life might be like for the first colonists on Mars.

This science-based look at what could possibly occur in the not-too-distant future is something of a departure for the author, whose prolific output of “If You Were Me and Lived in…” books has focused on the past and present. Roman uses a similar framework here, inviting readers to put themselves in the spacesuit and boots of a 10-year-old who’s traveled to the red planet as part of a three-year colonization expedition. Over the course of the story, Roman imparts Mars facts—about its terrain, its atmosphere (or lack thereof), the length of its days and years in comparison to Earth’s, how the names of its two moons came to be, what humans will need to live there, and more. This easily digestible, signature mix of textbook fact and Roman’s relatable, conversational style provides readers with an engaging way into the subject of space exploration, which is only deepened by a back-of-book pronunciation guide and glossary of terms. Roman might consider, however, adding a resource list to future editions for those young people who might be interested in further study on their own. The visual design of the book, while not striking, is comfortably polished, with glossy covers and clear, mostly white text incorporated into full-page illustrations. Artist Arkova, Roman’s frequent collaborator, suggests the Martian landscape in watercolor-style hues of rusty reds and blues, with touches of green and yellow in the colonists’ habitat. She adds a touch of whimsy with the addition of a frolicsome dog, dressed in a helmet and tail-accommodating spacesuit.

A book that will expand readers’ horizons with its scientific foray into the solar system.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5408-6972-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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ADA TWIST AND THE PERILOUS PANTS

From the Questioneers series , Vol. 2

Adventure, humor, and smart, likable characters make for a winning chapter book.

Ada Twist’s incessant stream of questions leads to answers that help solve a neighborhood crisis.

Ada conducts experiments at home to answer questions such as, why does Mom’s coffee smell stronger than Dad’s coffee? Each answer leads to another question, another hypothesis, and another experiment, which is how she goes from collecting data on backyard birds for a citizen-science project to helping Rosie Revere figure out how to get her uncle Ned down from the sky, where his helium-filled “perilous pants” are keeping him afloat. The Questioneers—Rosie the engineer, Iggy Peck the architect, and Ada the scientist—work together, asking questions like scientists. Armed with knowledge (of molecules and air pressure, force and temperature) but more importantly, with curiosity, Ada works out a solution. Ada is a recognizable, three-dimensional girl in this delightfully silly chapter book: tirelessly curious and determined yet easily excited and still learning to express herself. If science concepts aren’t completely clear in this romp, relationships and emotions certainly are. In playful full- and half-page illustrations that break up the text, Ada is black with Afro-textured hair; Rosie and Iggy are white. A closing section on citizen science may inspire readers to get involved in science too; on the other hand, the “Ode to a Gas!” may just puzzle them. Other backmatter topics include the importance of bird study and the threat palm-oil use poses to rainforests.

Adventure, humor, and smart, likable characters make for a winning chapter book. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3422-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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THE HOUSE THAT LOU BUILT

This delightful debut welcomes readers in like a house filled with love.

A 13-year-old biracial girl longs to build the house of her dreams.

For Lou Bulosan-Nelson, normal is her “gigantic extended family squished into Lola’s for every holiday imaginable.” She shares a bedroom with her Filipina mother, Minda—a former interior-design major and current nurse-to-be—in Lola Celina’s San Francisco home. From her deceased white father, Michael, Lou inherited “not-so-Filipino features,” his love for architecture, and some land. Lou’s quietude implies her keen eye for details, but her passion for creating with her hands resonates loudly. Pining for something to claim as her own, she plans to construct a house from the ground up. When her mom considers moving out of state for a potential job and Lou’s land is at risk of being auctioned off, Lou stays resilient, gathering support from both friends and family to make her dream a reality. Respicio authentically depicts the richness of Philippine culture, incorporating Filipino language, insights into Lou’s family history, and well-crafted descriptions of customs, such as the birdlike Tinikling dance and eating kamayan style (with one’s hands), throughout. Lou’s story gives voice to Filipino youth, addressing cultural differences, the importance of bayanihan (community), and the true meaning of home.

This delightful debut welcomes readers in like a house filled with love. (Fiction. 8-13)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1794-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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