Nevertheless, a valuable reference tool, a solid contribution to the literature of technology for teens and blissful eye...

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PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES

From the Design Line series

This oversized book comprises not pages but a 6 1/2–foot-wide foldout poster, with illustrations of 100 iconic aircraft, spacecraft, trains, cars, bikes and boats.

Vehicles range from the earliest mechanized transportation, such as the 1829 steam-powered Rocket, through cars such as the Bugatti Royale and the E-Type Jaguar to futuristic vehicles such as Virgin Galactic’s passenger-carrying SpaceShipTwo and the ENV fuel-cell motorcycle. The vehicles are arranged more or less in chronological order and have clearly been chosen for their special contributions to design or technological innovation. Ten key events or technological developments are listed on the inside of the cover. Transportation buffs will enjoy the attention to detail in Lemanski’s elegant illustrations, but those steeped in the subject may also be irritated by stylistic inaccuracies in some of the drawings, such as the shape of the 1959 Austin Mini. Detailed descriptions keyed to each vehicle are included on the back of the poster. This has the obvious drawback of rendering the captions invisible if readers want to take advantage of the poster format to display on a wall; completists will wish that the descriptions had been positioned immediately adjacent to the illustrations. The relatively flimsy card-stock binding will likely not stand up to heavy use.

Nevertheless, a valuable reference tool, a solid contribution to the literature of technology for teens and blissful eye candy for transportation enthusiasts. (Nonfiction. 6-14)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7121-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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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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The whimsy is slight—the story is not—and both its interest and its vocabulary are for the youngest members of this age...

THE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE

Beverly Cleary has written all kinds of books (the most successful ones about the irrepressible Henry Huggins) but this is her first fantasy.

Actually it's plain clothes fantasy grounded in the everyday—except for the original conceit of a mouse who can talk and ride a motorcycle. A toy motorcycle, which belongs to Keith, a youngster, who comes to the hotel where Ralph lives with his family; Ralph and Keith become friends, Keith gives him a peanut butter sandwich, but finally Ralph loses the motorcycle—it goes out with the dirty linen. Both feel dreadfully; it was their favorite toy; but after Keith gets sick, and Ralph manages to find an aspirin for him in a nearby room, and the motorcycle is returned, it is left with Ralph....

The whimsy is slight—the story is not—and both its interest and its vocabulary are for the youngest members of this age group. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 1965

ISBN: 0380709244

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1965

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