While perhaps not the most boisterous telling of this tale, it will nevertheless sweep readers away.

UP AND AWAY!

HOW TWO BROTHERS INVENTED THE HOT-AIR BALLOON

Designer Henry’s authorial debut explores the 18th-century invention of the hot air balloon.

Joseph-Michel Montgolfier, a Frenchman, had always found the mechanics of the world fascinating. One day, some of his papers drifted into his fireplace, and to his surprise, he noticed that the smaller pieces were rising above the flames. He realized that if the gas released by the fire had the ability to lift paper, it might be able to carry other things as well. He set about testing his hypothesis, and, with his brother Jacques-Étienne, he crafted “the world’s first flying machine”: a hot air balloon they called an “aerostat.” When Louis XVI got wind of their invention, he requested a demonstration, and the brothers set about planning, fitting the outside of their balloon with ornamentations fit for a king. When the day arrived, they famously sent a rooster, a duck, and a sheep up in their balloon, hosting for both the king and many French citizens the first-ever public demonstration of a hot air balloon. Henry’s narration is straightforward but engaging. The illustrations, rendered digitally, use a slightly dusty color palette that combines with such design elements as ornate golden frames in closing text boxes to nicely evoke the setting and era (all humans depicted are white). Backmatter includes a bibliography, list of further reading, and timeline of flight.

While perhaps not the most boisterous telling of this tale, it will nevertheless sweep readers away. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2360-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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