A solid addition to the growing collection of fine volumes about Apollo 11.

GO FOR THE MOON

A ROCKET, A BOY, AND THE FIRST MOON LANDING

The Apollo 11 mission ignites a young boy’s lifelong passion for rockets and astronomy.

A stately Saturn V rocket stands ready, illuminated by beams of light against a night sky. Turn the page, and a stunning white moon with a hazy halo shares that night sky, the words “The moon is out tonight” superimposed invitingly on its surface. Next, a young white boy (assumed to be a young version of the author) stares at the moon through his open bedroom window, thinking, “I’m so excited that I can’t sleep!” Effectively set up by these first images, the narrative proceeds to weave the three threads—the rocket, the moon, and the boy—into a volume that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing. The boy’s first-person narrative and supporting illustrations are set within the larger moon-mission illustrations like family photographs. The science behind the Saturn V rocket is related simply, large-format illustrations emphasizing the grandeur of the Apollo endeavor. The moon itself, ever present and awaiting, gets short shrift once the astronauts set foot on the surface; they spend two and a half hours and off they go, blasting off and heading home. The final double-page spread is a stunning, vertiginous view of the boy’s next generation of homemade rockets lifting off.

A solid addition to the growing collection of fine volumes about Apollo 11. (author’s note, fun facts, glossary, sources, places to visit) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-15579-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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With powerful art from a bold new talent, this is a probing and sensitive take on a devastating chapter of U.S. history.

AN AMERICAN STORY

“How do you tell a story / that starts in Africa / and ends in horror?”

Alexander uses multiple voices to weave this poem about a teacher who takes on the difficult but necessary task of starting a classroom conversation about slavery. Between the theft of people from the African continent and the sale of people in America, from the ships that brought them and the ocean that swallowed some of them to their uncompensated work and the breakup of families, Alexander introduces objections from the implied listeners (“But you can’t sell people,” “That’s not fair”), despair from the narrating adult, encouragement from the youth, and ultimately an answer to the repeated question about how to tell this story. Rising star Coulter’s mixed-media art elevates the lyrical text with clarity and deep emotion: Using sculpted forms and paintings for the historical figures gives them a unique texture and lifelike fullness, while the charcoal drawings on yellow paper used for the present-day student-teacher interactions invite readers to step inside. Where Coulter combines the two, connecting past with present, the effect is stunning. Both young readers and adults unsure of how to talk about this painful past with children will find valuable insights.

With powerful art from a bold new talent, this is a probing and sensitive take on a devastating chapter of U.S. history. (author’s and illustrator’s notes) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-47312-5

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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