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

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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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world.

DON'T LET THEM DISAPPEAR

An appeal to share concern for 12 familiar but threatened, endangered, or critically endangered animal species.

The subjects of Marino’s intimate, close-up portraits—fairly naturalistically rendered, though most are also smiling, glancing up at viewers through human eyes, and posed at rest with a cute youngling on lap or flank—steal the show. Still, Clinton’s accompanying tally of facts about each one’s habitat and daily routines, to which the title serves as an ongoing refrain, adds refreshingly unsentimental notes: “A single giraffe kick can kill a lion!”; “[S]hivers of whale sharks can sense a drop of blood if it’s in the water nearby, though they eat mainly plankton.” Along with tucking in collective nouns for each animal (some not likely to be found in major, or any, dictionaries: an “embarrassment” of giant pandas?), the author systematically cites geographical range, endangered status, and assumed reasons for that status, such as pollution, poaching, or environmental change. She also explains the specific meaning of “endangered” and some of its causes before closing with a set of doable activities (all uncontroversial aside from the suggestion to support and visit zoos) and a list of international animal days to celebrate.

A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51432-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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