A simple paean to gratitude for the mechanized and fleshy alike.

FIXER THE ROBOT

No good deed goes unpunished. Or, in this case, unflattened in a rockslide.

Selfless robot Fixer tools about the hills in search of robots in need of his repair skills. In a single day he meets up with Dug and his broken spade, Bull and his near-dead battery, and Gertie with her busted gearbox. As he repairs each and every one of them, Fixer sometimes gives up bits and pieces of himself to help them out. Unfortunately, before he can go home to recover, a landslide suddenly bowls him over and inters him down and deep. Fortunately, his friends are no ingrates. Upon noticing their friend’s untimely burial, the three set about using the gifts he gave them in an impromptu rescue. Digital art places Fixer and friends in a sometimes-barren, human-free landscape that feels distinctly out of this world. The gentle rhymes won’t challenge anyone’s tongue, even on a first read. While there is little to distinguish this from the hordes of other helpful-bot books on the shelves, the gentle cycle of one good deed deserving another, alongside plentiful robot action sequences, is sure to please both caregivers and their robot-worshiping offspring.

A simple paean to gratitude for the mechanized and fleshy alike. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-5713-3636-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween.

PUMPKIN MAGIC

Magical moonbeams awaken a pumpkin patch to raucous Halloween-season revelry.

A moonbeam illuminates and energizes a smiley-faced pumpkin sitting alone on a stair; it promptly takes off to find a friend with whom to have a good time. An entire pumpkin patch, also sparked by the magical moon, instantly comes alive. And what merriment all the grinning gourds get up to! Their playful shenanigans include piling high on top of one another, bouncing on a trampoline, dancing, marching, and drumming, wearing costumes, and competing in games. They even engage in activities usually reserved for other holiday-themed icons—flying on brooms and making magic, for instance. As dawn approaches, the pumpkin leader escorts the cavalcade back home. At sunrise, each one takes up residence on a different house’s front porch and awaits that evening’s moonbeams to work their magic again. Liveliness and good cheer abound in this frisky rhyming tale in which the perennial holiday symbols naturally take center stage. Perky couplets that read and scan very well appear on most pages and are accompanied by energetic, expressive illustrations that highlight vivid oranges, yellows, blues, purples, and greens with touches of other bright shades.

Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-56332-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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