An unusual offering for the young geology nerd.

THE STREET BENEATH MY FEET

This British import is an imaginatively constructed sequence of images that show a white boy examining a city pavement, clearly in London, and the sights he would see if he were able to travel down to the Earth’s core and then back again to the surface.

The geologic layers are depicted in 10 vertical spreads that require a 90-degree turn to be read and include endpapers, which open out, concertina fashion, to show the interior of the Earth to its core. Beneath the urban setting are drains, pipes, and artifacts of urban infrastructure. Below that, archaeological relics are revealed. An Underground train speeds by, and below it, a stalactite-encrusted cave yawns. Deep below the Earth’s crust, magma, the Earth’s mantle, and the inner core are shown. Turn the page to start going up again, back through the mantle to the crust, where precious minerals are revealed, then fossils, tree roots, and animal burrows, ending with the same boy in the English countryside. The painted, stenciled, and collaged illustrations are full-bleed, and the tones graduate pleasantly from light colors at the surface of the Earth to rich pinks, yellows, and oranges as readers near the Earth’s core. The text is informative, if lacking in poetry, including such nuggets as “earthworms are expert recyclers, eating dead plants in the soil.”

An unusual offering for the young geology nerd. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68297-136-9

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Words & Pictures

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of...

THE WATER PRINCESS

An international story tackles a serious global issue with Reynolds’ characteristic visual whimsy.

Gie Gie—aka Princess Gie Gie—lives with her parents in Burkina Faso. In her kingdom under “the African sky, so wild and so close,” she can tame wild dogs with her song and make grass sway, but despite grand attempts, she can neither bring the water closer to home nor make it clean. French words such as “maintenant!” (now!) and “maman” (mother) and local color like the karite tree and shea nuts place the story in a French-speaking African country. Every morning, Gie Gie and her mother perch rings of cloth and large clay pots on their heads and walk miles to the nearest well to fetch murky, brown water. The story is inspired by model Georgie Badiel, who founded the Georgie Badiel Foundation to make clean water accessible to West Africans. The details in Reynolds’ expressive illustrations highlight the beauty of the West African landscape and of Princess Gie Gie, with her cornrowed and beaded hair, but will also help readers understand that everyone needs clean water—from the children of Burkina Faso to the children of Flint, Michigan.

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of potable water. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17258-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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