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MANHATTAN

MAPPING THE STORY OF AN ISLAND

The vibrant history that unfolds will hold children’s attention through repeated viewings.

Beavers, oysters, and elm trees; the Lenape people, those who were enslaved, and those who immigrated; and subways, skyscrapers, and Superstorm Sandy fill the pages of a street-by-street chronicle of this incredible island.

Thermes opens with glaciers and moves on through the Mannahatta of the Lenape clans and the Manhattan of the Dutch and the English. Central to the formatting of both the book and New York City is the Plan of 1811 that established a grid pattern for the streets of the island north of Lower Manhattan. Central Park is developed, tenements are built to house poor immigrants, subways and bridges expand the island to neighboring locales, and tall buildings fill the horizon. Thermes does not shy from the violence of the city’s history, providing, for instance, an informative sidebar about Seneca Village, established by free blacks and destroyed by eminent domain to build Central Park. The highlights of the book are the many sequential maps, drawn in watercolor, pencil, and ink. They include, in very legible hand-lettering, street names and references to sites mentioned in the text. Horses, dogs, and young children, both white and of color, stroll along. Other pages vary from full-page vistas of Central Park, fires, subways, and snowstorms to spot art featuring bridges, birds, and the harbor.

The vibrant history that unfolds will hold children’s attention through repeated viewings. (afterword, timeline, select sources) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3655-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

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 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SPACE AND OTHER GALACTIC FACTS!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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