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From the Who Built That? series

A work of beauty and a conveyance into human ingenuity.

Ten bridges that both changed how we get from here to there and stunned us with their design beauty and engineering cleverness.

Cornille’s book itself has been designed to evoke a bridge: 6 inches by 13 inches, with the long spine to top and the book opened and read after rotating 90 degrees to the right. The bridges have been chosen for a variety of reasons; some are revolutionary in design, others are marvels or curiously elegant or weirdly delicate slabs of concrete. The artwork is composed of artful mechanical drawings—something like David Macaulay with even finer lines—which are not so much simplified as zeroed in on the fundamentals of construction and the way a bridge progresses from one piece of land to another. The bridges’ background stories are quick and captivating: how one bridge nearly killed its engineer from decompression illness as he repeatedly descended into the caissons or how the bridges change the psychological geography of how people relate to land and water. The bridges include the cast-iron bridge over the Severn River, England; the Brooklyn Bridge (inaugurated by a parade of 22 elephants); the Rio-Niterói Bridge in Brazil, which stretches over 8 miles; and Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk (up in the canopy of eucalyptus trees in Australia), among others.

A work of beauty and a conveyance into human ingenuity. (Informational picture book. 6 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61689-516-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist.

This follow-up to How To Read a Story (2005) shows a child going through the steps of creating a story, from choosing an idea through sharing with friends.

A young black child lies in a grassy field writing in a journal, working on “Step 1 / Search for an Idea— / a shiny one.” During a walk to the library, various ideas float in colorful thought bubbles, with exclamation points: “playing soccer! / dogs!” Inside the library, less-distinct ideas, expressed as shapes and pictures, with question marks, float about as the writer collects ideas to choose from. The young writer must then choose a setting, a main character, and a problem for that protagonist. Plotting, writing with detail, and revising are described in child-friendly terms and shown visually, in the form of lists and notes on faux pieces of paper. Finally, the writer sits in the same field, in a new season, sharing the story with friends. The illustrations feature the child’s writing and drawing as well as images of imagined events from the book in progress bursting off the page. The child’s main character is an adventurous mermaid who looks just like the child, complete with afro-puff pigtails, representing an affirming message about writing oneself into the world. The child’s family, depicted as black, moves in the background of the setting, which is also populated by a multiracial cast.

A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5666-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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From the Professor Astro Cat series

Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit.

The bubble-helmeted feline explains what rockets do and the role they have played in sending people (and animals) into space.

Addressing a somewhat younger audience than in previous outings (Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, 2013, etc.), Astro Cat dispenses with all but a light shower of “factoroids” to describe how rockets work. A highly selective “History of Space Travel” follows—beginning with a crew of fruit flies sent aloft in 1947, later the dog Laika (her dismal fate left unmentioned), and the human Yuri Gagarin. Then it’s on to Apollo 11 in 1969; the space shuttles Discovery, Columbia, and Challenger (the fates of the latter two likewise elided); the promise of NASA’s next-gen Orion and the Space Launch System; and finally vague closing references to other rockets in the works for local tourism and, eventually, interstellar travel. In the illustrations the spacesuited professor, joined by a mouse and cat in similar dress, do little except float in space and point at things. Still, the art has a stylish retro look, and portraits of Sally Ride and Guion Bluford diversify an otherwise all-white, all-male astronaut corps posing heroically or riding blocky, geometric spacecraft across starry reaches.

Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-55-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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