Simple amusement and simple instruction add up to a winning combination.

READ REVIEW

LAUNCH A ROCKET INTO SPACE

From the You Do the Math series

Koll and Mills explore how numbers help us get into outer space.

Wait...please retake your seats. This is not higher math—imaginary numbers and the calculations for Higgs boson and the like—but some fairly everyday math (though, beware, a protractor makes an appearance) used in the flight of a rocket into space. Using the dramatic coloration and panels of a comic book, the book offers brief introductions to the history of rocketry, the shapes and sizes of rockets, and the countdown checkoff sequence. Some material is introduced that leaves too much unsaid—“Scientists measure the weight of things in units called newtons.” Fig Newtons? Isaac Newtons?—but for the most part, everything is crystal clear. But the guy who runs away with the show is black astronaut Mike, who acts as tour guide to a girl trainee of Asian descent and administers quizzes and simple mathematical problems, most of which can be done in your head. “Round the height of each building and rocket to the nearest 10 feet,” or, bringing your own high-tech instrument into play, “Use a protractor to measure the angles the rocket has leaned over in Steps 3, 4, and 5.” Additional, somewhat more challenging questions are boxed off to the side. Answers and a glossary, thankfully, appear at the end of the book.

Simple amusement and simple instruction add up to a winning combination. (index) (Graphic nonfiction. 7-14)

Pub Date: June 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60992-729-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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