MILLIONS TO MEASURE

Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician returns, this time tackling measurement, in this latest installment of the winning “millions” series (If You Made a Million, 1989, etc.). In his systematic and logical style, Schwartz presents an enormous amount of information in an impressively clear and concise manner, beginning with the history of standardized measuring units. Through a series of “bright ideas,” the narrative arrives in the modern day, delving into current methods of measuring weight, length, and volume in the US. However, as the complexities of these systems are revealed, it seems another bright idea is needed, and—voilà—the metric system is introduced. Kellogg’s busy illustrations are jam-packed with color and exquisite detail. With plenty of dialogue (via text bubbles) and tons of eccentric characters from cavemen to kings to unicorns, the art is as fun to explore as it is functional. To give a sense of real-life scale, inchworms are placed next to foot-long snakes, and a hippo’s water bowl is pitted against a cat’s. Accurately sized rulers are depicted, including a foldout meter at the center. A lengthy author’s note supplies further, detailed information about the metric system and a plea to “think metric” in everyday life. Although Schwartz’s intention is to make a point about the relative simplicity of the metric system, he does not neglect American standards, and thereby keeps the work relevant—it can serve as an introduction to measuring, and can also function as a reference guide. The Schwartz-Kellogg team has got it right again: this should be part of every professional’s collection. (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-688-12916-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet.

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WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS

In this tribute to Native resilience, Indigenous author-and-illustrator team Lindstrom and Goade invite readers to stand up for environmental justice.

“Water is the first medicine,” a young, unnamed protagonist reflects as she wades into a river with her grandmother. “We come from water.” Stunning illustrations, rich in symbolism from the creators’ respective Ojibwe and Tlingit/Haida lineages, bring the dark-haired, brown-skinned child’s narrative to life as she recounts an Anishinaabe prophecy: One day, a “black snake” will terrorize her community and threaten water, animals, and land. “Now the black snake is here,” the narrator proclaims, connecting the legend to the present-day threat of oil pipelines being built on Native lands. Though its image is fearsome, younger audiences aren’t likely to be frightened due to Goade’s vibrant, uplifting focus on collective power. Awash in brilliant colors and atmospheric studies of light, the girl emphasizes the importance of protecting “those who cannot fight for themselves” and understanding that on Earth, “we are all related.” Themes of ancestry, community responsibility, and shared inheritance run throughout. Where the brave protagonist is depicted alongside her community, the illustrations feature people of all ages, skin tones, and clothing styles. Lindstrom’s powerful message includes non-Native and Native readers alike: “We are stewards of the Earth. We are water protectors.”

An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet. (author’s note, glossary, illustrator’s note, Water Protector pledge) (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20355-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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