GROSS UNIVERSE

YOUR GUIDE TO ALL DISGUSTING THINGS UNDER THE SUN

Face it, Szpirglas tells us, the world we live in is definitely gross—and we’re pretty yucky, too. Read on, and you’ll find yourself up to your oily, sweaty, bacteria-filled armpits in verifiable facts and figures about the mighty microbial wildlife that breeds and excretes in and on all living things. Cho’s colorful cartoon scientists, A and B, lead readers through an intimate examination of topics inappropriate for the dinner-table. Chapter titles like “Mad About Mucus,” “What a Gas!,” “Mind your Pees and Q’s,” and “V is for Vomit” will entice readers to delve into their favorite foul and fascinating facts; and while certainly less than clinical, broad comic-strip illustrations throughout provide lighthearted visual context and appeal for those who delight in the disgusting. Szpirglas, who describes himself as “Just a guy who happens to think weird animals and gross facts are cool,” lists 38 researchers and experts consulted in an impressive concluding page of “Amazingly Awesome Acknowledgments.” (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2004

ISBN: 1-894379-64-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Maple Tree/Firefly

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2004

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THE PUMPKIN BOOK

The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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A classic story of outsiders making friends—with a little something more.

LONG DISTANCE

After moving to a new city, a girl attends a wilderness camp to help her make new friends.

When astronomy-obsessed 9-year-old Vega’s dad Wes gets a new job, the family moves from Portland to Seattle. Vega is not happy about this change and doesn’t want to leave her best friend behind, worrying they will grow apart. Vega’s dad Javi thinks making new friends will help her adjust, so he signs her up for Camp Very Best Friend, which is designed to help introverted local children build new friendships. Vega is not exactly eager to go but makes a deal with Wes, agreeing to try out camp as long as he tries to make a new friend too. It quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary outdoor adventure, and Vega and her fellow campers try to figure out what is really going on. The story smoothly incorporates STEM facts with insets on the page to define and highlight terms or tools. An unexpected twist toward the end of this fast-paced adventure that reveals the truth behind the camp will surprise readers. The clean, bright artwork is enhanced by panels of varying shapes and clear, easy-to-follow speech bubbles. Race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are not explicitly addressed; characters’ names and physical appearances indicate a broadly diverse cast starting with brown-skinned Vega and her two dads.

A classic story of outsiders making friends—with a little something more. (Graphic fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5566-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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