Inspiring fare for readers who, as the author puts it, dream of becoming “brave astronauts,” “great artists,” or both.

READ REVIEW

THE ASTRONAUT WHO PAINTED THE MOON

THE STORY OF ALAN BEAN

A portrait of Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon and the first to express what that felt like in paint.

Basing his account at least in part on personal interviews with Bean, who tellingly described himself as “an artist who was once an astronaut,” Robbins (who also wrote about our nearest neighbor in Margaret and the Moon, illustrated by Lucy Knisley, 2017) spins a glowing tribute that focuses more on his white subject’s artistic aspirations than his outstanding Navy and NASA careers. Having found after his Apollo mission and subsequent experiences in space that “words weren’t enough” and photographs likewise failed to capture the “wonder of walking on a new world,” Bean turned to a medium that allowed him to experiment with light, color, and even materials—some of his work includes actual moon dust, spacesuit boot prints, and marks created by astronautical tools. Rubin’s cover and internal views of an easel actually set up on the lunar surface are fanciful, but along with scenes from Bean’s youth and short but electrifying time on the moon, he incorporates versions of some of Bean’s space paintings into glimpses of the artist’s studio and a gallery exhibition (where some younger viewers are people of color). Further examples are paired in the backmatter to the actual photos that inspired them.

Inspiring fare for readers who, as the author puts it, dream of becoming “brave astronauts,” “great artists,” or both. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-25953-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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