From the Brainy Science Readers series

A solid foundation of both reading skills and atomic physics.

Get ready to learn about quantum physics!

Ferrie’s Brainy Science Readers endeavor to “improve reading skills while immersing children into scientific theory,” using a level system to grade text complexity and scaffold reading skills. This entry in the series is a Level 1 text aimed at beginner readers and contains simple vocabulary and content, short and repetitive sentences, and clear relationships between text and images to help foster understanding. A stern-faced Marie Curie leads readers through the concepts of energy, atoms, atomic structure, and orbitals using metaphors (balls and rings) to illustrate each point. Each concept is carefully broken down into simple, easy-to-follow parts. The book early on refers to a ball, noting that it is made up of atoms; later on, Ferrie compares electrons to a ball, which may be confusing, although savvy readers will easily pick up on the shift in meaning. Large print, a limited color scheme, and simple illustrations help make the text—and the admittedly sophisticated concepts explained therein—accessible to a very young audience. The ending is a bit abrupt, and some concepts that are more difficult to understand at such a basic level—namely electron orbitals/energy levels—are, by necessity, oversimplified in a way that detracts somewhat from forming a functional understanding of them. However, overall, the book performs its duty as an introductory work—to literacy and science—admirably. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A solid foundation of both reading skills and atomic physics. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72826-153-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022



Ephemeral, though the interactive feature will likely prompt one or two voyages before the rocket flies off into oblivion.

A toy rocket propelled along a winding slot invites young astronauts to sample the wonders of outer space.

As in Vago and Rockefeller’s Train (2016), it’s all about the gimmick: a continuous slot cut into the heavy board pages that allows the small plastic vehicle (a retro-style rocket ship, here) to be pushed or pulled across each scene up to the edge and then around the edge to the next opening. Illustrating the generic rhyme (“Stars spin around in a cosmic race / Exploring the mysteries of outer space”), Rockefeller fills the starry firmament with flashes of light as the rocket soars past a crowd of glowing planets, winds its way through a thick field of “rocks,” pursues a comet, navigates a twinkling nebula, then swoops around a supernova to a die-cut hole that leads back to the first spread. The rocket is reasonably secure in its slot, but it can be reinserted easily enough should it fall (or, more likely, be pulled) out. The publisher suggests an age range of 4 through 8, likely in acknowledgment of the potential choking hazard the rocket ship poses, but the brevity and blandness of the text are unlikely to appeal to most in that range. Aside from a group of tiny figures watching the initial liftoff there are no people in the pictures.

Ephemeral, though the interactive feature will likely prompt one or two voyages before the rocket flies off into oblivion. (Novelty board book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0113-7

Page Count: 15

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017



A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity.

Young earthlings turn starry skies into playscapes in this first look at constellations.

On a page first glimpsed through a big die-cut hole in the front cover, Chagollan promises that stars “tell a thousand stories.” She goes on to describe brief scenarios in which residents of Earth interact with 15 Northern Hemisphere constellations. These range from Benjamin’s battle with a fierce dragon beneath Draco to a trio of unnamed ducklings who use the Swan to “find their way home.” Six further starry clusters bearing only labels are crowded into the final spread. In illustrations composed of thin white lines on matte black backgrounds (the characters formed by the stars are glossy), Aye colors significant stars yellow, connects them with dots, and encloses them in outlines of mythological figures that are as simply drawn as the animals and humans (and mermaid) below. As a practical introduction, this has little to offer budding sky watchers beyond a limited set of constellations—two, the Big Dipper and the Summer Triangle, are not official constellations at all but classified as asterisms—that are inconsistently labeled in Latin or English or both. Despite a closing invitation to go out and “find these stars in the sky,” the book provides no sky maps or verbal guidelines that would make that actually possible.

A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-509-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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