From the All Aboard series

Zigzag itinerary notwithstanding, a brisk and inventive excursion.

A lift-the-flap cruise past select highlights in the history of human communication, from cave paintings to talkies.

Squired by a pair of tour guides—one black and one white—readers board an unusually versatile ocean liner in 1927 for passage to 1799 Egypt for a look at the newly discovered Rosetta Stone. From there it’s on to visit 16th-century English graphite mines and learn about the invention of the pencil; 17th-century Strasbourg (then a free city of the Holy Roman Empire) to witness the birth of newspapers; then see both Napoleon’s “optical telegraph” and the better-known electrical sort in action; and get good looks at the births of airmail, radio, photography, and finally moving pictures. Along with sets of clues to a side mystery that are coded in various alphabets and ciphers, the multiple flaps incorporated into each big, bright painted scene conceal descriptions and diagrams of each invention, notes on related advances, historical anecdotes, and tributes to significant figures. Alert viewers will spot repeated text under one flap and (a classic error) wrong-way threads on the screw of the printing press. Also, TV doesn’t make the cut, nor do any developments after the arrival of talking pictures. Otherwise, the liner puts in at major ports of call while venturing into some less-well-known technological inlets.

Zigzag itinerary notwithstanding, a brisk and inventive excursion. (Informational novelty. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-225-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021


A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts.

From a Caldecott and Sibert honoree, an invitation to take a mind-expanding journey from the surface of our planet to the furthest reaches of the observable cosmos.

Though Chin’s assumption that we are even capable of understanding the scope of the universe is quixotic at best, he does effectively lead viewers on a journey that captures a sense of its scale. Following the model of Kees Boeke’s classic Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps (1957), he starts with four 8-year-old sky watchers of average height (and different racial presentations). They peer into a telescope and then are comically startled by the sudden arrival of an ostrich that is twice as tall…and then a giraffe that is over twice as tall as that…and going onward and upward, with ellipses at each page turn connecting the stages, past our atmosphere and solar system to the cosmic web of galactic superclusters. As he goes, precisely drawn earthly figures and features in the expansive illustrations give way to ever smaller celestial bodies and finally to glimmering swirls of distant lights against gulfs of deep black before ultimately returning to his starting place. A closing recap adds smaller images and additional details. Accompanying the spare narrative, valuable side notes supply specific lengths or distances and define their units of measure, accurately explain astronomical phenomena, and close with the provocative observation that “the observable universe is centered on us, but we are not in the center of the entire universe.”

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts. (afterword, websites, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4623-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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