The engaging storyteller, who visited Iran both before and after the Islamic Revolution, gives some historical and political background in her introduction, but her focus is rightly on the people and their tales. Overall, the stories have little Islamic content, although “The Prophet Khizir” has a religious tone, and they share motifs with many stories around the world. “The Giant Okab” can be seen as a Beauty and the Beast variant, and “Miss Cockroach and Mr Mouse” is an older version of “Perez and Martina,” a Puerto Rican story that first traveled from the Middle East to Spain. Readers who have had broad exposure to folktales will have great fun comparing and contrasting the stories with those of other places; those new to folk literature will just enjoy them. Adl, who grew up in Iran, creates collages with quirky characters, a naïve folk quality and a modern artistic sensibility. General sources of stories from Persia (Iran’s prior name) are listed. A wonderful blend of traditional stories and original art that reflects the customs of this country. (Folktales. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84507-912-3

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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Though this has more of a religious bent than most biographies, children should gain an understanding of the new pope as a...



Beginning with the emigration of Jorge’s grandparents from Italy to Argentina, this biography traces Bergoglio’s life, concluding with his attendance at World Youth Day in July 2013, as Pope Francis.

This is a much more personal biography (meant for a slightly younger audience) than Pope Francis by Stephanie Watson (2013). Only briefly mentioning Argentina’s “Dirty War” and entirely leaving out the scandals of the Catholic Church and the more publicized examples of Bergoglio’s humility, Monge and Wolfe focus instead on the experiences that shaped Bergoglio’s faith and led him to the priesthood. The text’s lack of a bibliography may lead readers (or their parents) to wonder how the more intimate details of Bergoglio’s life were uncovered, especially with regard to the rather stilted and unnatural-sounding dialogue and internal monologues. Simple, short sentences make this accessible for young readers, though more contextual definitions (or a glossary) would have been helpful, especially for those unfamiliar with the Catholic faith. Also, commas that could help young readers with comprehension are frequently missing, and there are some awkward sentence constructions: “There was always studying or homework to do for school, or help needed around the house.” Kizlauskas’ illustrations are quite realistic looking (if stiff), though they do not always appear on the same spread as the text that accompanies them.

Though this has more of a religious bent than most biographies, children should gain an understanding of the new pope as a person. (Biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8198-4006-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Pauline Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher.


A playful introduction to bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa.

Readers are going to need a basic grounding in cytology from the start, as Gallagher drops such terms as “nucleus” and “organelles” into the discourse without defining them and rushes past plasmids without explaining what they are or do. Likewise, though she fits out all of the jelly-bean–like cells and microbes in her lighthearted illustrations with expressive faces—not to mention occasional limbs, fashion accessories, and hair—she rarely includes recognizable biological components. She’s not particularly systematic either, as she mentions four major components of the human immune system but goes on to describe only two. More usefully, along with frequent mentions of how ubiquitous microbes are, her main focus seems to be laying out microbial types and subtypes, from the five shape-related groups of bacteria to the even more ancient archaea (Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, and Korarchaeota), and describing their individual distinctions and how they reproduce. Polysyllabic as some of this content is, the breezy presentation should impart to general students, as well as budding microbiologists, a nodding acquaintance with our single-celled neighbors and residents.

Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63411-009-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thunderstone Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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