The poems are, at best, lesser lights in the poetic firmament, but the pictures provide enough boost to get them off the...

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A ROCKETFUL OF SPACE POEMS

Goofy cartoons featuring wildly baroque spacecraft and many-limbed aliens illustrate 26 poems, nearly all new and out of—or at least off—this world.

J. Patrick Lewis explains how long it would take to drive to the moon in “your average car”; Eric Finney firmly misdirects a Mars-bound UFO toward Venus; editor Foster himself writes from the Space Hotel that “Space-worms are delicious / And the chef says they are quite nutritious”; and Liz Brownlee introduces hapless alien tourist “Flurp Blurp”: “I broke 3 legs on Mars whilst skiing, / 3 more on Saturn’s rings sightseeing!” They and other poets tally otherworldly food, monsters, sports, and visitors. Lewis is the best-known of the 17 contributors, but regardless of their creators’ recognizability, the verses (most of which are rhymed) roll along merrily, and Paul cranks up the silliness with page-filling views of garishly colored planets, tentacle-waving, googly-eyed extraterrestrials, and spaceships sporting many extravagant pipes and rivets. A closing handful of short foolishness (including Julie Holder’s verse knock-knock joke, with “A human being what?” as its punch line) makes for a particularly enjoyable send-off.

The poems are, at best, lesser lights in the poetic firmament, but the pictures provide enough boost to get them off the ground. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84780-486-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Readers (and listeners) will think that this book is the bee’s knees.

THE HONEYBEE

Children will be buzzing to learn more about honeybees after reading this story.

Hall takes her readers on a sunny romp through a springtime pasture abuzz with friendly honeybees in this bright and cheerful picture book. Hall’s rhyme scheme is inviting and mirrors the staccato sounds of a bee buzzing. At times, however, meaning seems to take a back seat to the rhyme. The bees are suggested to “tap” while flying, a noise that adult readers might have trouble explaining to curious listeners. Later, the “hill” the bees return to may elicit further questions, as this point is not addressed textually or visually. Minor quibbles aside, the vocabulary is on-point as the bees demonstrate the various stages of nectar collection and honey creation. Arsenault’s illustrations, a combination of ink, gouache, graphite, and colored pencil, are energetic and cheerful. Extra points should be awarded for properly illustrating a natural honeybee hive (as opposed to the often depicted wasp nest). The expressive bees are also well-done. Their faces are welcoming, but their sharp noses hint at the stingers that may be lurking behind them. Hall’s ending note to readers will be appreciated by adults but will require their interpretation to be accessible to children. A sensible choice for read-alouds and STEAM programs.

Readers (and listeners) will think that this book is the bee’s knees. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6997-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The outing may earn a few clicks from hand-wringing parents; young digerati will roll their eyes and go back to texting.

TEK

THE MODERN CAVE BOY

McDonnell has a bone to pick with a young Stone Age gamer who won’t leave the family cave.

The Caldecott Honor–winning cartoonist takes an uncharacteristically curmudgeonly tone in this tablet-shaped book. Depicted, in black-framed, rounded-cornered illustrations designed to look like screenshots, in front of the stone TV with tablet and game controller to hand “all day, all night, all the time,” Tek ignores the pleas of his huge dino best friend, Larry, and all others to come out. “You should never have invented the Internet,” his mom grunts to his dad. Having missed out on evolution and an entire Ice Age, Tek is finally disconnected by a helpful volcano’s eruption—and of course is completely reformed once he gets a gander at the warm sun, cool grass, and an “awesome Awesomesaurus.” “Sweet.” Afterward, in joyous full-bleed paintings, he frolics with Larry by day and reaches for the “glorious stars” by night. This screed is as subtle as a tap from a stone axe. James Proimos’ Todd’s TV (2010) and If You Give a Mouse an iPhone by “Ann Droyd” (2014) are funnier; Matthew Cordell’s buoyant Hello! Hello! (2012) is more likely to spark a bit of behavior change. Tek and his parents are reminiscent of the Flintstones, with pink skin and dark, frizzy hair.

The outing may earn a few clicks from hand-wringing parents; young digerati will roll their eyes and go back to texting. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-33805-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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