This exploration of water just isn’t solid enough to merit purchase.

THE RHYTHM OF THE RAIN

A small boy imagines the travels of water from a jar through steps of the water cycle and around the world.

When a rain shower interrupts Issac’s play, he empties a jar of water into a mountain pool. He runs downhill, following his water into a river that goes by his family home. Continuing in a small boat, he sails through an idealized countryside and a curiously empty city (the single human empties a bucket out a riverside window) as far as the ocean. The boat vanishes from the story as readers see the water encountering a whale, icebergs, ocean deeps, and a lightning storm. The water becomes mist, a cloud over faraway African countries, and life-giving rain. After one more cycle through the ocean, it finally becomes rain falling on Issac’s pool again. Watery digital paintings of a dreamlike landscape provide pictorial reinforcement. Issac appears white. The art is lovely, but the exposition is awkward in this British import. Readers will struggle with long sentences where the meaning is not immediately clear: “He followed them to the river that / ran past his home and then plunged down a waterfall.” There are factual errors. Whales don’t spout swallowed water through their blowholes; that’s warm air from their lungs. Water doesn’t rise from the ocean as steam; that’s vapor. For an equally child-friendly and more accurate account of this often described process, choose Miranda Paul and Jason Chin’s Water Is Water (2015).

This exploration of water just isn’t solid enough to merit purchase. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0575-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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