The perfect combination of art and science to get kids engaged with nature.

YOU ARE STARDUST

This eloquent introduction to some very large concepts is science written like poetry.

Environmental consultant and educator Kelsey brings her strengths to the table in this app, which is based on the 2012 book of the same name. Though packing plenty of interesting facts (who knew we sneeze with the force of a tornado? or that many animals get their friends to babysit?), the concise writing gives even young readers the tools to think about our integral connection with nature. Readers old enough to question on their own will be eager to learn more—perhaps wanting to learn what an atom is or how it is that the water we drink is the same water the dinosaurs drank. The author carefully draws parallels between the greater cycles of nature and our own bodies; for instance, "you shed the most hair in early autumn," just like trees losing leaves, and "will replace your skin 100 times before you are ten" just as the Earth cycles through the seasons, renewing and replacing its surface. Kim’s stunning and sophisticated 3-D dioramas adapt well to the tablet medium; tilting the tablet shifts perspective subtly, and “page turns” are pleasantly dizzying. Though touch-activated interaction is minimal, low-key animations complement the text’s lyricism. Read by the author, the app includes a section by the artist explaining how she created the dioramas, a note from the author with even more scientific facts and a build-your-own-diorama activity.

The perfect combination of art and science to get kids engaged with nature. (iPad informational app. 5-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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