Readers will enjoy the memory challenges, and many may well put the techniques that work best to use in their daily lives.

REMEMBER 10 WITH EXPLORER BEN

Veitch invites readers to tag along with Ben on his worldwide adventures and learn some memory-enhancing techniques along the way.

Explorer Ben visits some amazing places, does some cool things, and sees some awesome sights, but he is rather accident- and loss-prone. Each adventure takes up two double-page spreads. On the first, readers are told where Ben is going, 10 things he is packing, a memory trick for remembering those 10 items, and an example of that technique in action. These mnemonic aids include, among others: creating a story, rhyme, or song; making a picture that includes all the items; imagining picking the items up in the rooms of your house; and acting out using the objects. The second spread shows what mishap befalls Ben, enumerates the objects he still has in his possession, and prompts readers to name what’s missing. Backmatter includes a final memory quiz and “Tips for Parents” about additional memory boosters. Beedie’s seemingly digital illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic. The items are easy to identify, and the vignette illustrations showing Ben’s misadventures picture some of the items to be remembered, making it a bit easier. Still, this is about mnemonics, not about logic: the hot air ballooning adventure includes eight items for a midair tea party.

Readers will enjoy the memory challenges, and many may well put the techniques that work best to use in their daily lives. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68297-206-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist.

HOW TO WRITE A STORY

This follow-up to How To Read a Story (2005) shows a child going through the steps of creating a story, from choosing an idea through sharing with friends.

A young black child lies in a grassy field writing in a journal, working on “Step 1 / Search for an Idea— / a shiny one.” During a walk to the library, various ideas float in colorful thought bubbles, with exclamation points: “playing soccer! / dogs!” Inside the library, less-distinct ideas, expressed as shapes and pictures, with question marks, float about as the writer collects ideas to choose from. The young writer must then choose a setting, a main character, and a problem for that protagonist. Plotting, writing with detail, and revising are described in child-friendly terms and shown visually, in the form of lists and notes on faux pieces of paper. Finally, the writer sits in the same field, in a new season, sharing the story with friends. The illustrations feature the child’s writing and drawing as well as images of imagined events from the book in progress bursting off the page. The child’s main character is an adventurous mermaid who looks just like the child, complete with afro-puff pigtails, representing an affirming message about writing oneself into the world. The child’s family, depicted as black, moves in the background of the setting, which is also populated by a multiracial cast.

A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5666-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit.

PROFESSOR ASTRO CAT'S SPACE ROCKETS

From the Professor Astro Cat series

The bubble-helmeted feline explains what rockets do and the role they have played in sending people (and animals) into space.

Addressing a somewhat younger audience than in previous outings (Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, 2013, etc.), Astro Cat dispenses with all but a light shower of “factoroids” to describe how rockets work. A highly selective “History of Space Travel” follows—beginning with a crew of fruit flies sent aloft in 1947, later the dog Laika (her dismal fate left unmentioned), and the human Yuri Gagarin. Then it’s on to Apollo 11 in 1969; the space shuttles Discovery, Columbia, and Challenger (the fates of the latter two likewise elided); the promise of NASA’s next-gen Orion and the Space Launch System; and finally vague closing references to other rockets in the works for local tourism and, eventually, interstellar travel. In the illustrations the spacesuited professor, joined by a mouse and cat in similar dress, do little except float in space and point at things. Still, the art has a stylish retro look, and portraits of Sally Ride and Guion Bluford diversify an otherwise all-white, all-male astronaut corps posing heroically or riding blocky, geometric spacecraft across starry reaches.

Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-55-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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