A well-crafted tribute to a fascinating aviation pioneer.



Lang’s portrait commemorates the centennial of Ruth Law’s record-breaking flight from Chicago to New York.

Law, who performed daredevil tricks for spectators in her Curtiss Pusher biplane, set a higher goal: to best the new nonstop-flight record just set by Victor Carlstrom. Law petitioned Glenn Curtiss for his newest model, which Carlstrom had flown—a large one, with a 205-gallon fuel tank. Curtiss refused, doubting Law’s ability to handle the powerful plane and long flight. Instead, Ruth and her mechanics modified her little open-cockpit biplane, installing a metal wind guard and extra fuel tanks that increased capacity from 16 gallons to 53. (Oddly, Lang omits a significant detail: the plane’s lights were removed to lighten it.) Effectively employing short, staccato phrases, Lang creates a riveting, “you are there” narrative. Law correctly interprets her engine’s sounds, gauges, compass, map, and landmarks, prudently touching down twice before reaching New York City—but after besting Carlstrom’s record. Well-chosen quotes from Law further enliven the text (though two, inserted within the flight’s narrative, predate it). Colón’s rich compositions—in colored pencil and crayon on paper “etched” with swirling lines—use a primary palette of gold and charcoal brown, with layers of turquoise for water and sky. Colón correctly depicts Law’s lever controls; there’s a captioned photo highlighting the detail. Readers may feel the absence of a contextualizing timeline.

A well-crafted tribute to a fascinating aviation pioneer. (author’s note, photographs, bibliography, collections and exhibits, websites, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62091-650-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Informative, empowering, and fun.


Girl power abounds in this book about coding that introduces young readers to the world of programming while offering them hands-on activities via a companion app.

In this title that was first introduced as a customizable, personalized print-on-demand product, Rox has a superpower. Using code, she programs toy robots that can do things like make broccoli disappear—or mischief. When Dad tells Rox to clean her room, she quickly thinks up a bot that will do it for her, writing code that instructs her bot to use artificial intelligence to sort objects by color and type. Though Rox knows that there’s a high potential for her creation to rebel, the perks outweigh any potential adverse effects. Rox’s robot has her room neat and tidy in no time—and then the entire home. Chorebot’s AI allows it to keep learning, and it seems Chorebot can do no wrong until the robot decides to rearrange the entire city (both buildings and people) by type, style, and gender. Chorebot goes “out of his artificial mind!” Rox must now stop her creation…without the assistance of the internet. The artwork, styled in the tradition of popular superhero series, is peppy and colorful, and it depicts Rox as an adorable black girl donning a black bomber jacket and a pink tutu. A companion app (not available for review) allows readers to create a bot of their own.

Informative, empowering, and fun. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-57687-899-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Cool and stylish.

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Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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