A (literally) illuminating survey, with exemplary choice and use of digital enhancements.

BOBO EXPLORES LIGHT

It’s science! Presented with plenty of buoyant, eye-catching graphics and cleverly designed interactive fun.

Plainly descended from a food processor but sounding like E.T. and sporting a “holo-projector” capable of throwing up tilt-responsive 3-D images when tapped, Bobo the robot squires viewers through introductions to 21 light-related topics. These range from the sun (and planets), color and fire to Thomas Edison, the human eye and bioluminescence. Opening either in succession or in any order thanks to a strip of thumbnail images, each single-topic screen features a tableau of animated cartoon figures (Bobo incinerating a marshmallow over a Fire to the amusement of a chortling caveman; a set of movable mirrors and a laser to explore angles of Reflection), a lively musical background track and an (un-narrated) introductory paragraph of basic information. Three-down insets on each screen add such features as a super-slow-mo video of lightning strikes, a touch-sensitive menu of Edison’s most famous inventions, narrated slide shows of neon shop signs and kinds of animal vision and one or more pages of additional explanation or quirky facts. The animations and sound effects are all cogent, comical or both, and from lighthearted opening tutorial to spectacular closing show of nighttime fireworks, there’s nary a dull nor uninformative moment.

A (literally) illuminating survey, with exemplary choice and use of digital enhancements. (iPad informational app. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Game Collage

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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