The crowd-pleasing premise makes this a snap for reading solo or to virtually any audience.

Rhymes and reflections on body noises, from groans and giggles to sneezes, wheezes, and snores.

“Cough heads north, / fart goes south. / One by bottom, / the other by mouth.” Though the authors will no doubt be slapping their foreheads for neglecting to mention that there’s a word for tummy growls (“borborygmus”), they otherwise definitely deserve claps on the shoulder for this effervescent set of verses on sounds we produce…awake and asleep, voluntarily or otherwise. San Vicente’s rubbery figures, mostly a light- or dark-skinned array of young folk, blast or blow in theatrical accompaniment, and prose notes in the margins expand on each knee-slapping topic with explanations of biological causes (“sniffles and snuffles” are symptoms of a head cold) and chortle-worthy sidelight facts (“20% of people regularly crack their knuckles. Are you a frequent snap, crackle, and pop-er?”). Gagging, humming, and a few other sounds don’t make the cut, while yawning gets in without quite fitting the sonic premise. Still, the notion that bodies can become whole percussive orchestras for a rhythmic “dance party” gets airings fore and aft—offering readers an invitation to crack their knuckles and clap out musical explorations of their own.

The crowd-pleasing premise makes this a snap for reading solo or to virtually any audience. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781638192015

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Moonshower/Bushel & Peck Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023


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

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 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019


An additional choice for young readers interested in animal traits.

When King Lion holds a race to honor the fastest animal, Cheetah easily wins the title.

Cheetah runs 75 miles per hour in the 100-yard dash, but all the other animals clamor to show their own great speeds in different kinds of contests. Large and small, land and sea animals, birds and beasts, reptiles and insects: They tell their king the facts about their abilities. Husky says: “I am the fastest over long distances.” Ostrich wants all participants to “run on two legs to be fair to everyone.” A sea turtle thinks that the race should be held in the water, an idea heartily endorsed by a black marlin. A majestic peregrine falcon insists on the sky because these birds fly at 240 miles per hour, but a small free-tailed bat pipes up and says that the race “should be at night!” What’s a wise ruler to do? The king creates “an Olympics” with multiple events. Realistic illustrations in a somewhat dull palette of browns, blues, and greens bring animals together (not always to scale) in a dusty savanna landscape. The folkloric telling contrasts with the factual speeds of the animals included in the text. Educational activities in the backmatter, some beyond the ability of the intended readers of the main text, focus on mathematical and scientific comparisons. A Spanish-language edition publishes simultaneously in paperback only.

An additional choice for young readers interested in animal traits. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60718-739-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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