A thought-provoking way of looking at the world, and imaginative kids will love it.

CAN YOU SEE ME?

A BOOK ABOUT FEELING SMALL

A journey into the world of big and little and a nudge to think outside the box.

This whimsical, quirky, and engaging picture book, a Spanish import by a Turkish creator, takes readers on an Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland–type exploration of perceptive relativity. What is little to one may be big to another; if readers were as strong as ants, they could lift rhinos; if they could jump as high as fleas, they could reach the top of the Eiffel Tower—these are just some of the thought-provoking ideas presented. The narrative (appealingly hand-lettered) is accompanied by collaged illustrations that are just as whimsical and that cleverly build as the story unfolds. “If your foot could grow as fast as a caterpillar can during its life cycle… / …your foot would be 3 times larger after just a few days. / It would keep growing until…it would not fit in a school bus. Like this elephant.” Huh? Readers may ask. But the introduction of the pachyderm leads to the idea of an elephant’s big footprint—which, if it filled with water, could be habitat for 60 different species. While the story unfolds in what appears to be a rather dizzying array of free-form thoughts, it holds itself together—just—although readers will want to go through it more than once to grasp all the clever connections. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A thought-provoking way of looking at the world, and imaginative kids will love it. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0837-6

Page Count: 46

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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