A clever and appealing introduction to a remarkable natural phenomenon.

VOLCANO RISING

Blowing their tops off, growing taller and wider, and forming new mountains and islands, volcanoes can be both destructive and creative. Extraordinary illustrations complement this description of eight extraordinary Earth events.

A dual-level narrative provides both a simple explanation of how volcanoes work and longer paragraphs that go into greater depth. Rusch offers as examples eight volcanoes from around the world. From barely perceptible swellings of the land in central Oregon to a whole new island in Iceland and the vast caldera left by explosions in the Yellowstone area, the variety of volcanic activities may surprise readers. The text is set on gorgeous full-bleed images, sometimes realistic and sometimes allusive. Swan has digitally manipulated collages of found objects, textures and hand-painted papers, putting them together in ways that suggest the varied scenery of her examples. Palm trees, puffins and people give depth to vast landscapes. The colors are particularly striking: jade and turquoise waters, red and orange magma and hot lava, shades of gray and brown for the ash. In her read-aloud text, Rusch makes plentiful use of onomatopoetic words: “Pow!” “Hisssss!” “Gurgle,” “Tssss.” The fuller explanations introduce, define and, when necessary, offer a suggested pronunciation for more technical words: pahoehoe (a kind of cooled lava surface), tephra, lava bombs.

A clever and appealing introduction to a remarkable natural phenomenon. (glossary, bibliography, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58089-408-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are...

DRAGONS AND MARSHMALLOWS

From the Zoey and Sassafras series , Vol. 1

Zoey discovers that she can see magical creatures that might need her help.

That’s a good thing because her mother has been caring for the various beasts since childhood, but now she’s leaving on a business trip so the work will fall to Zoey. Most people (like Zoey’s father) can’t see the magical creatures, so Zoey, who appears in illustrations to be black, will have to experiment with their care by problem-solving using the scientific method to determine appropriate treatment and feeding. When a tiny, sick dragon shows up on her doorstep, she runs an experiment and determines that marshmallows appear to be the proper food. Unfortunately, she hadn’t done enough research beforehand to understand that although dragons might like marshmallows, they might not be the best food for a sick, fire-breathing baby. Although the incorporation of important STEM behaviors is a plus, the exposition is mildly clunky, with little character development and stilted dialogue. Many pages are dense with large-print text, related in Zoey’s not especially childlike voice. However, the inclusion in each chapter of a couple of attractive black-and-white illustrations of round-faced people and Zoey’s mischievous cat helps break up the narrative.

In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are nice to see. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943147-08-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lighthearted read that will offer comfort to young children that others too face challenges of friendship, teamwork and...

PARKER BELL AND THE SCIENCE OF FRIENDSHIP

In her debut chapter book, Platt shares the story of a young girl navigating friendships and the challenges of trying to win her school’s science triathlon.

Young Parker Bell is a curious child who loves science and aspires to match up to Mae Jemison and Jane Goodall one day. Her best friend and partner in science is coding whiz Cassie Malouf. They have been best friends since kindergarten, but Parker gets jealous when Cassie suddenly starts becoming friendly with Theo Zachary, a shy boy in their class. Parker worries that Cassie likes Theo more than her, and she fights hard to keep her friend. Matters only get worse when Cassie invites Theo to be part of their team for the science triathlon, which features a science trivia contest, an egg drop, and a presentation. In a somewhat predictable plot, Parker realizes she has a lot in common with Theo as she spends more time with him. Platt works hard to defy gender stereotypes. In addition to the girls’ STEM enthusiasm, Parker’s mom teaches phys ed, her dad owns a bakery, and Cassie’s mom teaches math. Zhai’s simple black-and-white illustrations of Parker, Cassie, and the classrooms provide a good visual aid to the story, depicting Parker and Theo as white and Cassie with dark skin and long black hair.

A lighthearted read that will offer comfort to young children that others too face challenges of friendship, teamwork and competition. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-97347-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more