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An attractively simple explanation of a pressing problem.

Earth and its human inhabitants have the power to remove the excess carbon in the air that leads to climate change.

This premise underlies a hopeful explanation of the climate crisis and possible mitigation tools. Even before the title page, capable readers will find brief definitions of terms such as carbon, carbon dioxide, photosynthesis, fossil fuels, and the greenhouse effect. The pages that follow are designed for younger readers and listeners. Boersma’s digitally colored drawings are attractive and detailed, showcasing city scenes, an underwater kelp forest, a mangrove swamp, a temperate woodland, and more, with a diverse human population. Levy’s poetic text describes the carbon problem and ways to address it. Sea kelp, mangroves, and dirt all trap carbon in different ways. People can help, too, by switching to more environmentally friendly power sources, farming methods, and transportation. This versatile writer’s published titles include picture books, fiction, and biographies for young people. Most have been historically themed; science is a new direction for her. While scientists may find some of Levy’s explanations oversimplified, she takes a positive approach to explaining the causes and challenges of climate change—something encouraged by climate educators. There’s no question that this is a valuable introduction and, with its pleasing repetitions, a satisfying read-aloud.

An attractively simple explanation of a pressing problem. (author’s note, selected sources, information on how people are helping the planet) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781547612062

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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