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Offering a treat for budding students of engineering, urban studies, construction projects or massive wheeled machines in general, Weitzman focuses on the initial stages in the building of what remains the world’s largest and busiest subway system. Pairing matter-of-fact explanatory texts to intricate, precisely drawn side views and cutaways, with human figures in period dress standing about for scale, he begins with the signing of Contract #1 in 1900. Then he goes on to show step by step how, during the ensuing four and a half years, workers cut through muck and solid rock, built bridges and braces, rerouted sewage and electric lines, laid down track and erected power stations. He also explains how early trains were controlled, and closes with notes on some of the system’s distinctive architectural details. As he is vague on the endeavor’s human cost, and nearly silent on its turbulent political and historical background, this doesn’t tell the whole story—but it does make engrossing viewing, and a good intro to the likes of Lesley A. DuTemple’s New York Subways (2003). (brief annotated source list) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2005

ISBN: 0-374-37284-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2005

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Miranda’s book counts the monsters gathering at a birthday party, while a simple rhyming text keeps the tally and surveys the action: “Seven starved monsters are licking the dishes./Eight blow out candles and make birthday wishes.” The counting proceeds to ten, then by tens to fifty, then gradually returns to one, which makes the monster’s mother, a purple pin-headed octopus, very happy. The book is surprisingly effective due to Powell’s artwork; the color has texture and density, as if it were poured onto the page, but the real attention-getter is the singularity of every monster attendee. They are highly individual and, therefore, eminently countable. As the numbers start crawling upward, it is both fun and a challenge to try to recognize monsters who have appeared in previous pages, or to attempt to stay focused when counting the swirling or bunched creatures. The story has glints of humor, and in combination with the illustrations is a grand addition to the counting shelf. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-201835-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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