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PLB 0-06-028145-6 paper 0-06-445192-5 Is There Life In Outer Space? (40pp.; $15.95; PLB $15.89; paper $4.95; Sept.; 0-06-028146-4; PLB 0-06-028145-6; paper 0-06-445192-5): Colorful, fanciful, outlandish artwork from Miller are the attention-getters here, for Branley’s 1984 text makes no claims on space exploration in the 90s. Branley begins his examination of the search for extraterrestrials with two examples of fabrication: the wishful sightings of Moon folk, and Orson Welles’s “War of the Worlds” hoax. Welles admitted to his big joke, and both manned and unmanned space probes have set the records straight on the moon and planetary life. The author must foster the possibility that distant galaxies, outside our ken but not our lively imagination, may support life: “Who knows?” The recent spate of books on the universe and other aspects of the vast Out There only make this one—despite Miller’s zany computer- generated scenes and full-color photographs’seem feeble. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-028146-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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A wild and silly tale is told in rhyme. Farmer Brown enjoys a calm before a storm, listening to the happy sounds of his animals: “Pigs that oinked,/Cows that moo’d,/Sheep that baa’d,/ Doves that coo’d.” A twister hits the farm, scooping up the animals and setting them down gently; while they are not injured, all the languages get mixed up. Farmer Brown can only utter rooster cries, and the rooster, in English, is calling the shots. Cows oink, and clucking sheep are assumed to be laying eggs. It takes another twister to set things right, although the farmer occasionally still crows. The clever and expertly written story will tickle the funny bones of the nursery-school set, although the clutter of the comic illustrations—with dialogue balloons, lines indicating movement, and frenetic action—makes this better for lap-sharing than story hours. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2512-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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This smart little story from Doyle, about growing a tepee of runner beans, can be extended to take in the big canvas—life itself—but its charm resides in the focus on a singular natural event. Jody and her grandfather prepare a patch of earth for some bean seeds. He comes back for intermittent visits, but it is up to Jody to tend the beans and report back to him by phone. Granda offers a measure of advice, but doesn’t pile on the directions, allowing Jody to exercise her powers of observation and gathering experience to get it right. Her attentiveness leads to great pleasure in the growth of the vines, the red flowers, the beans themselves (“ ‘Oh,’ said Jody. ‘I didn’t know we were going to eat them’ “). Meanwhile, Jody’s mother is growing larger with pregnancy, but that subplot resides mostly in the illustrations. Come autumn, the big beans on the top of the tepee yield a surprise. The story resembles a fine reduction sauce, as Doyle’s imagery and newcomer Allibone’s delicate, framed watercolors yield a rich, concentrated delight. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7636-0687-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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