A wonderful resource for households, schools, Scouting groups and other organizations catering to kids.


Ferrer transports readers to a time gone by, when stoopball and jacks, string games and stickball, hopscotch and marbles were the staples of childhood.

As Ferrer notes in his introduction, games have been a part of childhood since the beginning of time, helping children “learn new skills, discover unknown strengths, and build peer relations—which translates directly into solving problems, creating solutions, and becoming a good team player.” Divided into seven sections, the text covers all sorts of games in all sorts of venues: ball, brain, solitary, car, card, group and partner. The format puts the name of the game (and its aliases), number of players, object and materials needed right at readers’ fingertips, summarizing the basic rules in an easy-to-follow paragraph and listing any additional rules, hints or tips in separate, bulleted sections. Most include variations to either modify the challenge or offer variety. “Fun Facts” sections are set off in black and scattered throughout, providing background on many old favorites (Bingo was invented in 1500s Italy), as well as some fascinating factoids (the stone-skipping world record is 51 skips!). Grayscale drawings break up the text and help illuminate some of the more difficult activities (string games, yo-yo tricks), though they also introduce a measure of modernity to what is largely a retro-themed book.

A wonderful resource for households, schools, Scouting groups and other organizations catering to kids. (index) (Nonfiction. 5 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-936140-74-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Imagine Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist.


This follow-up to How To Read a Story (2005) shows a child going through the steps of creating a story, from choosing an idea through sharing with friends.

A young black child lies in a grassy field writing in a journal, working on “Step 1 / Search for an Idea— / a shiny one.” During a walk to the library, various ideas float in colorful thought bubbles, with exclamation points: “playing soccer! / dogs!” Inside the library, less-distinct ideas, expressed as shapes and pictures, with question marks, float about as the writer collects ideas to choose from. The young writer must then choose a setting, a main character, and a problem for that protagonist. Plotting, writing with detail, and revising are described in child-friendly terms and shown visually, in the form of lists and notes on faux pieces of paper. Finally, the writer sits in the same field, in a new season, sharing the story with friends. The illustrations feature the child’s writing and drawing as well as images of imagined events from the book in progress bursting off the page. The child’s main character is an adventurous mermaid who looks just like the child, complete with afro-puff pigtails, representing an affirming message about writing oneself into the world. The child’s family, depicted as black, moves in the background of the setting, which is also populated by a multiracial cast.

A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5666-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit.


From the Professor Astro Cat series

The bubble-helmeted feline explains what rockets do and the role they have played in sending people (and animals) into space.

Addressing a somewhat younger audience than in previous outings (Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, 2013, etc.), Astro Cat dispenses with all but a light shower of “factoroids” to describe how rockets work. A highly selective “History of Space Travel” follows—beginning with a crew of fruit flies sent aloft in 1947, later the dog Laika (her dismal fate left unmentioned), and the human Yuri Gagarin. Then it’s on to Apollo 11 in 1969; the space shuttles Discovery, Columbia, and Challenger (the fates of the latter two likewise elided); the promise of NASA’s next-gen Orion and the Space Launch System; and finally vague closing references to other rockets in the works for local tourism and, eventually, interstellar travel. In the illustrations the spacesuited professor, joined by a mouse and cat in similar dress, do little except float in space and point at things. Still, the art has a stylish retro look, and portraits of Sally Ride and Guion Bluford diversify an otherwise all-white, all-male astronaut corps posing heroically or riding blocky, geometric spacecraft across starry reaches.

Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-55-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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