Occasionally loses focus but rich in eye-opening facts and eye-candy art.

THE EYEBALL ALPHABET BOOK

From the Jerry Pallotta's Alphabet Books series

The eyes have it in Pallotta’s latest playful and informative ABC.

Bersani follows up the spectacular illustrations in Not a Butterfly Alphabet Book (2019) with another set of equally bright, bold, and this time literally eye-catching close-ups to go with Pallotta’s alphabetical assortment of ocular animal facts. Pallotta offers specific observations on the eyesight of creatures from giant squid to spider while also contrasting the general benefits of monocular and binocular vision, describing three types of tears, and casting glances at other vision-related facts, such as a fly’s compound eyes and a python’s thermal sensors. Both author and illustrator tuck in extras, including, for each letter, a thematically related figure of speech like “get some shut-eye” and “to see eye to eye” and a gallery of goofy eyeglasses, and they occasionally dart off topic (“N” is represented by “Night Crawler,” for instance: “They never need to visit an eye doctor!”). The statement that “having no eyesight is called blindness” may be glaringly simplistic, but that’s an isolated blink in a generally illuminating overview. A bulleted list of savvy advice for proper peeper care at the close is worth taking a gander at.

Occasionally loses focus but rich in eye-opening facts and eye-candy art. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-57091-710-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Together with its companions, too rushed to be first introductions but suitable as second ones.

MARIE CURIE AND RADIOACTIVITY

From the Graphic Science Biographies series

A highlights reel of the great scientist’s life and achievements, from clandestine early schooling to the founding of Warsaw’s Radium Institute.

In big sequential panels Bayarri dashes through Curie’s career, barely pausing at significant moments (“Mother! A letter just arrived. It’s from Sweden,” announces young Irène. “Oh, really?…They’re awarding me another Nobel!”) in a seeming rush to cover her youth, family life, discoveries, World War I work, and later achievements (with only a closing timeline noting her death, of “aplastic anemia”). Button-eyed but recognizable figures in the panels pour out lecture-ish dialogue. This is well stocked with names and scientific terms but offered with little or no context—characteristics shared by co-published profiles on Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity (“You and your thought experiments, Albert!” “We love it! The other day, Schrödinger thought up one about a cat”), Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution, and Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion. Dark-skinned Tierra del Fuegans make appearances in Darwin, prompting the young naturalist to express his strong anti-slavery views; otherwise the cast is white throughout the series. Engagingly informal as the art and general tone of the narratives are, the books will likely find younger readers struggling to keep up, but kids already exposed to the names and at least some of the concepts will find these imports, translated from the Basque, helpful if, at times, dry overviews.

Together with its companions, too rushed to be first introductions but suitable as second ones. (glossary, index, resource list) (Graphic biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7821-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Just the ticket for mechanically curious kids.

MARVELOUS MACHINES

A MAGIC LENS BOOK

A detachable acetate eyepiece lets budding engineers peek into buildings, the inner workings of vehicles from bicycles to submarines, and even a human torso.

Peering through the colored spyglass embedded in the front cover at Lozano’s cartoon scenes makes large areas of red stippling or crosshatching disappear, revealing electrical wiring and other infrastructure in or under buildings, robots at work on an assembly line, the insides of a jet and a container ship, and other hidden areas or facilities. Though younger viewers will get general pictures of how, for instance, internal-combustion (but not electric) cars are propelled, what MRIs and ultrasound scans reveal, and the main steps in printing and binding books, overall the visual detail is radically simplified in Lozano’s assemblages of cartoon images. Likewise, the sheaves of descriptive captions are light on specifics—noting that airplane wings create lift but neglecting to explain just how, say, or why maglev train magnets are supercooled. Still, Wilsher introduces simple machines at the outset (five of the six, anyway), and the ensuing selection of complex ones is current enough to include a spy drone and Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket. Along with displaying a range of skin tones, the human cast of machine users visible in most scenes includes an astronomer wearing a hijab. All in all, it’s a revealing, if sketchy, roll toward David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work Now (2016).

Just the ticket for mechanically curious kids. (Informational novelty. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-912920-20-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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