BUILDING

Cooper (Ballpark, 1998, etc.) once again takes a familiar sight and infuses it with a squiggly magic as he ebulliently illustrates how a vacant lot is transformed by construction. The architect comes with her blueprints to a lot full of trash and weeds. A backhoe follows, and big trucks delivering materials and digging out stuff. Then the workers come, with mortar that looks like “a big tub of oatmeal” and concrete that “smells like chalk.” They fetch and carry and measure things off, and they eat fried chicken and call home. Cooper piles on numerous small images of workers hammering and hauling toilets and wedging insulation, often opposite a full-page image of the building as it slowly takes form and shape, filling the vacant lot. The lines of text come at right angles and bend around machinery as Cooper tells about a worker “with hands and arms so big they could juggle trucks” and another “with two braids” who repeats a joke to her co-worker, who repeats it to the worker above him. The pictures are fascinating and informative; readers will come away with a real understanding of how a building comes into existence. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16494-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS EXPLORES THE SENSES

The way-off-road vehicle (The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field, 1997, etc.) tours the ears, eyes, nose, and skin when the assistant principal, Mr. Wilde, accidentally shrinks the school bus and the children on board, commandeering it to deliver a message to Ms. Frizzle. The vehicle plunges into the eye of a police officer, where the students explore the pupil, the cornea, the retina, and the optic nerve leading to the brain. Then it’s on to other senses, via the ear of a small child, the nose of a dog, and the tongue of the Friz herself. Sidebars and captions add to the blizzard of information here; with a combination of plot, details, and jokes, the trip is anything but dull. The facts will certainly entice readers to learn more about the ways living creatures perceive the world. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-44697-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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