WHEN IS A PLANET NOT A PLANET?

THE STORY OF PLUTO

Joining the rush of revised views of the solar system for young readers that has been following in the wake of the International Astronomical Union’s decision to redefine Pluto (and some other fellow wanderers) as “dwarf planets” rather than the full-fledged sort, this production shows several signs of haste, from a narrative that fails to note that Pluto has more than one moon to a chapter that opens with a full page, uncaptioned photo of a vague smear of light. Scott launches into a clear, simply phrased but standard and mostly off-topic history of astronomy and the discovery of our solar system. Aside from that blur, the accompanying space photos, diagrams, artists’ conceptions and art reproductions are up to this author’s and publisher’s usual high quality, but as more focused, considered treatments of the topic are already available or likely to be coming soon, don’t rush to buy this one. (index, reading list) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-618-89832-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2007

MONSTER MATH

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

DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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