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

READ REVIEW

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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This ambitious introduction to an important concept tries too hard to pigeonhole people, places, and things

NOUNS SAY "WHAT'S THAT?"

From the Word Adventures: Parts of Speech series

Anthropomorphized representations of a person, a place, and a thing introduce readers to nouns.

The protagonists are Person, a green, hairy, Cousin Itt–looking blob; Place, a round, blue, globe-ish being (stereotypically implied female by eyelashes and round pigtails); and Thing, a pink cloud with limbs, a porkpie hat, and red glasses. They first introduce the word “noun” and then start pointing out the nouns that fall under each of their categories. In their speech balloons, these vocabulary words are set in type that corresponds to the speaker’s color: “Each wheel is a thing noun,” says Thing, and “wheel” is set in red. Readers join the three as they visit a museum, pointing out the nouns they see along the way and introducing proper and collective nouns and ways to make nouns plural. Confusingly, though, Person labels the “bus driver” a “person noun” on one page, but two spreads later, Thing says “Abdar is a guard. Mrs. Mooney is a ticket taker. Their jobs are things that are also nouns.” Similarly, a group of athletes is a person noun—“team”—but “flock” and “pack” are things. Lowen’s digital illustrations portray a huge variety of people who display many skin and hair colors, differing abilities, and even religious and/or cultural markers (though no one is overweight). Backmatter includes a summary of noun facts, a glossary, an index (not seen), critical-thinking questions, and a list of further reading. Books on seven other parts of speech release simultaneously.

This ambitious introduction to an important concept tries too hard to pigeonhole people, places, and things . (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5158-4058-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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