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SQUARES, RECTANGLES, AND OTHER QUADRILATERALS

This has its place in the series but is not as strong as the previous two.

Adler and Miller previously tackled Circles (2016) and Triangles (2014); now they add quadrilaterals.

The duo start off slowly (though not as basically as in the previous two books) and build the learning as the pages turn. Polygons with four straight sides are quadrilaterals. If their sides are of equal length and their angles all measure 90 degrees, they are squares. Using a ruler and a “right-angle tester” (a corner cut off an envelope), readers can test shapes. An analog clock is used to introduce angles and their measures, and as in Triangles, Adler encourages readers to snip the corners off quadrilaterals they have drawn and put their vertices together, proving that the angles always sum 360 degrees. The rest of the book defines other types of quadrilaterals: three types of trapezoids, a rectangle, a rhombus, a kite, and a parallelogram. The use of an empty cereal box to help children visualize shapes is rather confusing, and the digital illustrations are a little busier here than in the previous titles, the measures and marked angles sometimes visually overwhelming. Unlike Circles, the learning is not nearly as deep: This is more a glorified shape book that looks only at shapes with four sides and defines vocabulary, so the audience and format are a mismatch.

This has its place in the series but is not as strong as the previous two. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3759-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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YOUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts.

From a Caldecott and Sibert honoree, an invitation to take a mind-expanding journey from the surface of our planet to the furthest reaches of the observable cosmos.

Though Chin’s assumption that we are even capable of understanding the scope of the universe is quixotic at best, he does effectively lead viewers on a journey that captures a sense of its scale. Following the model of Kees Boeke’s classic Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps (1957), he starts with four 8-year-old sky watchers of average height (and different racial presentations). They peer into a telescope and then are comically startled by the sudden arrival of an ostrich that is twice as tall…and then a giraffe that is over twice as tall as that…and going onward and upward, with ellipses at each page turn connecting the stages, past our atmosphere and solar system to the cosmic web of galactic superclusters. As he goes, precisely drawn earthly figures and features in the expansive illustrations give way to ever smaller celestial bodies and finally to glimmering swirls of distant lights against gulfs of deep black before ultimately returning to his starting place. A closing recap adds smaller images and additional details. Accompanying the spare narrative, valuable side notes supply specific lengths or distances and define their units of measure, accurately explain astronomical phenomena, and close with the provocative observation that “the observable universe is centered on us, but we are not in the center of the entire universe.”

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts. (afterword, websites, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4623-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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