Luminous illustrations, interesting backmatter, but a wordy, less-than-clear story.

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THE SHOOING CAVE

A boy and a cave-dwelling beastie encounter each other in this bedtime story.

An early-elementary-age boy, tucked into bed for bedtime, asks his father (depicted, rather creepily, in silhouette) to tell him the story of the Stark. Ensuing illustrations erase any initial disquiet with their crisp luminosity, evocatively rendering the mystery and wonder of the titular cave as the story unfolds. The Stark (the father tells the boy) lives in the caves and hunts for treasure. The blue-furred Stark has a nonthreatening Sesame Street–monster look. An unnamed boy (with brown, freckled skin and red, Afro-textured hair, just like the listening child) shows up to go caving, and when he sees the Stark, the boy says, “Shoo!” The wordy, somewhat disorganized text revolves around the boy exploring the cave and saying “shoo,” to the Stark. One night the Stark, deliberately or accidentally (it’s not clear), gives the boy a “stone pearl,” and the boy realizes the Stark means him no harm. The boy then sews a stuffed Stark “baby” and leaves it for the Stark to find. While the story itself doesn’t captivate, the backmatter, “Cave Facts,” does. It explains some of the cave phenomena mentioned but not clarified (“cave pearls,” “walrus whiskers”) in the story’s body and adds depth and interest.

Luminous illustrations, interesting backmatter, but a wordy, less-than-clear story. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-943431-51-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tumblehome Learning

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

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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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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