There are a few arid patches and some illustration-audience mismatch, but the value—and enjoyment—of rounding and estimating...

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LET'S ESTIMATE

A BOOK ABOUT ESTIMATING AND ROUNDING NUMBERS

Estimating and rounding: two great, everyday mathematical tools.

We round and estimate all the time; they’re right up there with adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. Adler brings a no-nonsense approach to the subjects, sometimes a little too much so, letting the narrative go flat at the expense of tinder-dry precision. “For most purposes, that’s a perfectly acceptable answer. But it’s not an exact answer.” Even the inclusion of the contractions doesn’t lighten those sentences. And there is also a measure of disconnect between Miller’s artwork, with its Candyland playfulness and large population of dinosaurs, and the audience, some of who will be nigh approaching junior high school. On the other hand, he has a good gender and racial mix among the humans, who participate via speech bubbles. Adler’s text overcomes its occasional drab presentation by stressing the utter usefulness and pleasure of rounding and estimating. They allow us to have a sense whether or not we are in the ballpark numberwise, and they can be just plain fun in gaining an idea of how numbers relate to the real world, both for amusement and to grasp time and space: estimate the steps to a friend’s house and how long that will take.

There are a few arid patches and some illustration-audience mismatch, but the value—and enjoyment—of rounding and estimating courses through it. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3668-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are...

DRAGONS AND MARSHMALLOWS

From the Zoey and Sassafras series , Vol. 1

Zoey discovers that she can see magical creatures that might need her help.

That’s a good thing because her mother has been caring for the various beasts since childhood, but now she’s leaving on a business trip so the work will fall to Zoey. Most people (like Zoey’s father) can’t see the magical creatures, so Zoey, who appears in illustrations to be black, will have to experiment with their care by problem-solving using the scientific method to determine appropriate treatment and feeding. When a tiny, sick dragon shows up on her doorstep, she runs an experiment and determines that marshmallows appear to be the proper food. Unfortunately, she hadn’t done enough research beforehand to understand that although dragons might like marshmallows, they might not be the best food for a sick, fire-breathing baby. Although the incorporation of important STEM behaviors is a plus, the exposition is mildly clunky, with little character development and stilted dialogue. Many pages are dense with large-print text, related in Zoey’s not especially childlike voice. However, the inclusion in each chapter of a couple of attractive black-and-white illustrations of round-faced people and Zoey’s mischievous cat helps break up the narrative.

In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are nice to see. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943147-08-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A floral fantasia for casual browsers as well as budding botanists.

THE BIG BOOK OF BLOOMS

Spirited illustrations brighten a large-format introduction to flowers and their pollinators.

Showing a less Eurocentric outlook than in his Big Book of Birds (2019), Zommer employs agile brushwork and a fondness for graceful lines and bright colors to bring to life bustling bouquets from a range of habitats, from rainforest to desert. Often switching from horizontal to vertical orientations, the topical spreads progress from overviews of major floral families and broad looks at plant anatomy and reproduction to close-ups of select flora—roses and tulips to Venus flytraps and stinking flowers. The book then closes with a shoutout to the conservators and other workers at Kew Gardens (this is a British import) and quick suggestions for young balcony or windowsill gardeners. In most of the low-angled scenes, fancifully drawn avian or insect pollinators with human eyes hover around all the large, luscious blooms, as do one- or two-sentence comments that generally add cogent observations or insights: “All parts of the deadly nightshade plant contain poison. It has been used to poison famous emperors, kings and warriors throughout history.” (Confusingly for the audience, the accurate but limited assertion that bees “often visit blue or purple flowers” appears to be contradicted by an adjacent view of several zeroing in on a yellow toadflax.) Human figures, or, in one scene, hands, are depicted in a variety of sizes, shapes, and skin colors.

A floral fantasia for casual browsers as well as budding botanists. (glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-500-65199-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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