From the This Little series

This could engineer some future career ambitions.

What can you make?

Little kids with big ideas, imaginations, and aspirations might appreciate this compact book about engineers who accomplished big goals in various fields. Notably, almost all the engineers succinctly profiled herein are women—and, even more notably, women of color, among them Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut; Sangeeta Bhatia, an Indian American medical nanotechnologist; and Fei-Fei Li, a Chinese American engineer who specializes in artificial intelligence. The profiled male engineers include Apple whiz Steve Wozniak, electricity genius Nikola Tesla, and Gustave Eiffel, builder of his eponymous tower and designer of the “skeleton inside the Statue of Liberty.” Each scientist has one spread devoted to them, introducing “This little engineer” with a jaunty, clever four-line verse that explains the subject’s work in simple terms and offers a cartoonish, smiling, wide-eyed headshot of the scientist. The facing page colorfully depicts the engineer with a tiny body and enlarged head and describes their accomplishment with one or two explanatory sentences. The author manages to engineer an impressive amount of rudimentary information into a small space, though much of this will likely go over many readers’ heads—despite the board-book format, this content is geared to older readers. Additionally, each profile’s opener, “This little engineer,” reminiscent of “This Little Piggy,” is rather twee. Illustrations are vivid, but engineers’ faces generally aren’t individualized. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This could engineer some future career ambitions. (11 additional engineers, an explanation of different engineering specialties) (Board book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-66591-208-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022


A common topic ably presented—with a participatory element adding an unusual and brilliant angle.

To the tune of a familiar ditty, budding paleontologists can march, dig, and sift with a crew of dinosaur hunters.

Modeling her narrative after “Here We Go ’Round the Mulberry Bush,” Lendroth (Old Manhattan Has Some Farms, 2014, etc.) invites readers to add appropriate actions and gestures as they follow four scientists—modeled by Kolar as doll-like figures of varied gender and racial presentation, with oversized heads to show off their broad smiles—on a dig. “This is the way we clean the bones, clean the bones, clean the bones. / This is the way we clean the bones on a warm and sunny morning.” The smiling paleontologists find, then carefully excavate, transport, and reassemble the fossil bones of a T. rex into a museum display. A fleshed-out view of the toothy specimen on a wordless spread brings the enterprise to a suitably dramatic climax, and unobtrusive notes in the lower corners capped by a closing overview add digestible quantities of dino-detail and context. As in Jessie Hartland’s How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum (2011), the combination of patterned text and bright cartoon pictures of scientists at accurately portrayed work offers just the ticket to spark or feed an early interest in matters prehistoric.

A common topic ably presented—with a participatory element adding an unusual and brilliant angle. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62354-104-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020


From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous...

A first introduction to the iconic civil rights activist.

“She was very little and very brave, and she always tried to do what was right.” Without many names or any dates, Kaiser traces Parks’ life and career from childhood to later fights for “fair schools, jobs, and houses for black people” as well as “voting rights, women’s rights and the rights of people in prison.” Though her refusal to change seats and the ensuing bus boycott are misleadingly presented as spontaneous acts of protest, young readers will come away with a clear picture of her worth as a role model. Though recognizable thanks to the large wire-rimmed glasses Parks sports from the outset as she marches confidently through Antelo’s stylized illustrations, she looks childlike throughout (as characteristic of this series), and her skin is unrealistically darkened to match the most common shade visible on other African-American figures. In her co-published Emmeline Pankhurst (illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo), Kaiser likewise simplistically implies that Great Britain led the way in granting universal women’s suffrage but highlights her subject’s courageous quest for justice, and Isabel Sánchez Vegara caps her profile of Audrey Hepburn (illustrated by Amaia Arrazola) with the moot but laudable claim that “helping people across the globe” (all of whom in the pictures are dark-skinned children) made Hepburn “happier than acting or dancing ever had.” All three titles end with photographs and timelines over more-detailed recaps plus at least one lead to further information.

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous flights of hyperbole. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-018-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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