A soaring imaginary journey for young readers wondering about their places in space.

READ REVIEW

THE SKIES ABOVE MY EYES

On a broad, continuous, accordion-folded strip tucked between oversize covers, an excursion from the Earth’s surface to the far reaches of the solar system and back.

Beginning and ending with the dark-skinned, green-eyed child on the cover, Zommer’s painted illustrations lead readers’ eyes upward past high-rise buildings and through the atmosphere’s layers to the International Space Station, then on beyond to the moon and the planets. Then, after pausing to regard the distant stars and the Milky Way, the journey back allows glimpses of comets and meteoroids, types of clouds, migrating birds of several species, mountain sheep, and swooping hang gliders before coming to rest on a grassy hilltop. The artist adds details aplenty to spot along the way, from paper airplanes and space telescopes to small human figures (in the terrestrial scenes) with, mostly, brown or solid black faces. Printed in undulating clusters of type that suggest flowing winds and rounded orbits, Gullain’s narrative reads with natural ease from bottom to top up to the midway point, then descends—tallying wonders while pointing out street signs and window cleaners, a cutaway Soyuz capsule, each planet, and other details as it goes and also keeping track of heights and distances.

A soaring imaginary journey for young readers wondering about their places in space. (atmosphere chart) (Informational novelty. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-910277-69-0

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Words & Pictures

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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