Another solid shape book that will grow with young geometry learners; don’t let the picture-book format fool you—high...

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CIRCLES

Following Triangles (2014), Adler and Miller tackle another shape.

Again beginning with a definition and descriptions of basic three-dimensional figures and what they are called (sphere, cone, cylinder), Adler quickly ramps up to naming the parts of a circle—radius, diameter, chord, arc. Readers use their own circles, traced onto and cut from paper, and rulers (marked only in English measurements in Miller’s illustrations) to explore these concepts as well as symmetry and intersection. Brightly colored cartoon animals created from geometric shapes (largely circles) ask children to find and count radii, major and minor sectors, and chords. The learning deepens again as Adler looks at ways to find the circumference and area of a circle and the formulas involving pi. The only mathematical calculations readers are asked to do is in determining the area of six different circles using the formula radius x radius x pi = area. A final page looks at the usefulness and ubiquity of circles, though it seems more of an introduction than a conclusion, especially given its simplicity after some math that can be pretty difficult for young learners. Backmatter includes a glossary and the answers to the questions posed in the text.

Another solid shape book that will grow with young geometry learners; don’t let the picture-book format fool you—high schoolers could use some of this math. (Informational picture book. 6-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3642-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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