Time to add this to collections.


Frequent collaborators Adler and Miller launch another one into outer space—literally.

His exploration accompanied by space-themed illustrations and beginning with how the day is broken into smaller units—hours, minutes, and seconds—and the difference between a.m. and p.m., Adler launches into how to read the two types of clocks: analog and digital (instead of using the word “colon,” the text reads that the “numbers [are] separated by two dots, one dot on top of the other”). He concentrates on explaining how to read analog, breaking the book into spreads that define “clockwise,” the three hands and how long they take to travel once around the clock, telling the hour, telling the minutes, and many examples, which also add in useful vocabulary like “half past,” “quarter past,” and “quarter to.” Backmatter includes a glossary of terms boldfaced in the main narrative and an author’s note about sundials, daylight savings time, military time, and time zones (the duo tackled this topic in depth in Time Zones, 2010). Miller’s crisp, colorful art features five astronauts (two present white, two have brown skin, one has green skin; two sport pigtails). Throughout, Adler brings the language and examples to kids’ level—eating a cookie takes a few seconds; passing a tray of them around may take a few minutes; and baking them could take an hour or more—though the concept of a “number-stop” as the distance/time between numbers on the clock face is a bit awkward.

Time to add this to collections. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4092-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Science at its best: informative and gross.


Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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