MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

A COAST GUARD RESCUE

A crisp, exciting Coast Guard rescue operation over stormy seas, and in the dark of night. Demarest tells the story of this rescue in surging couplets, pumping a dose of energy into the proceedings: “A thirty-foot yacht, adrift well out at sea, / sends, ‘MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Please respond to our plea!’ / The call is received at the Coast Guard air base. / An H-60 ’hawk has been fueled for the chase.” Words like “adrift,” “righted,” and “entangled” will give younger readers a challenge, but the narrative is largely straightforward. It’s Demarest’s art that truly conveys the story’s suspense: dramatic, richly hued pastels of crashing waves, storm-wrecked skies, signal flares, and swimmers dropped through the gale into the wild water below. An explanatory note at the end gives historical background information on the Coast Guard, and there are detailed drawings of the equipment used by the rescue swimmers and the flight crew. Dynamite. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85161-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2004

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A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

TINY LITTLE ROCKET

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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DINOTRUX

From the Dinotrux series

The tough working trucks in Kate and Jim McMullan’s I Stink! (2002) and sequels look like lightweights next to their brawny prehistoric antecedents in Gall’s rousing, grimy full-bleed spreads. Crushing rocks and trees, flattening smaller creatures and sending diminutive cave people fleeing in pop-eyed panic, a round dozen metal behemoths roll by, from towering Craneosaurus—“CRACK, MUNCH. / Look out birds, it’s time for lunch!”—and the grossly incontinent Blacktopodon to a stampede of heavily armored Semisaurs and the “bully of the jungle,” toothy Tyrannosaurus Trux. Why aren’t these motorized monsters with us today? They are, though in the wake of a mighty storm that left most mired in the mud to rust, the survivors went South and, as a climactic foldout reveals, evolved into the more beneficent vehicles we know and love. Dinotrux ruled their world, and now they’re likely to rule this one too. Bellow on! (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-316-02777-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2009

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