STAR OF THE SEA

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A STARFISH

An introduction to the ochre sea star, a Pacific coast variety. Halfmann appropriately focuses on sea stars’ more amazing adaptations—sticky tube feet, a stomach that can be extruded from its body and the ability to regenerate its rays. Children follow along as one sea star uses the night’s high tide to reach the shore, where the mussel beds and her next meal lie. Along the way, she uses her tube feet to right herself after a wave flips her, works to pry apart some mussels, eats her fill and narrowly escapes a hungry seagull. Unfortunately, the author misses some great opportunities to introduce vocabulary. Backmatter includes a diagram of a sea star, resources for finding out more, a four-word glossary and two pages of extensive additional information about sea stars. Paley’s beautiful artwork consists of collages of hand-painted papers of watercolor blends and textures. While the colors and textures are truly evocative of the ocean setting, the illustrations fall a bit short in terms of scientific detail. The text mentions (without naming) the madreporite, the opening in the top of the starfish that allows it to take in water and power its tube feet, but the light-colored, off-center circle that marks this spot is missing in the illustration. This combines with the lack of scientific vocabulary to keep this from being a solid resource, but it could serve to spark further interest. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 24, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9073-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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Informative, empowering, and fun.

ROX'S SECRET CODE

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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