The big machines may initially draw readers, but kids will leave with a solid foundation about the immensity of large-scale...

SKYSCRAPER

Follow along as machines construct a skyscraper, from the ground all the way up, up, up!

In her punchy trademark one-verb-per-page style, Hurley starts off with a demolition followed by the numerous steps of building an enormous new skyscraper. Watch the excavator “dig” the foundation, the flatbed truck “haul” the beams for a crane to “raise,” and more, all the way through to the finishing touches of windows and paving. Near the last page, a change from landscape to portrait orientation finally treats readers to a complete view of the towering finished product. Occasionally, scale is difficult to ascertain in the illustrations, making it hard to perceive the building’s upward progression, though changing seasons nicely underscore that completing a project this large is a lengthy process. On each page, a new construction vehicle lumbers in, ranging from the familiar (bulldozer) to the lesser known (pile driver). The closing glossary identifying the equipment and its function will help readers connect the verbs to the machines’ tasks. The flat, digitally rendered construction vehicles, depicted in comparatively bright primary colors, stand out distinctively against the matte, mostly gray background, though the imposing vehicles feel more static than dynamic.

The big machines may initially draw readers, but kids will leave with a solid foundation about the immensity of large-scale construction. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7001-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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Won’t last forever, but hours of entertainment while it does.

MY PEEKABOO THINGS THAT GO

Flaps within flaps offer fun and occasional frustration in this highly interactive, travel-themed tome for tots.

Several two-page set pieces depict a variety of conveyances and heavy equipment in action, in tableaux depicting a city, harbor, airport, building site, railway station, and freeway. Scenes are dense with detail, especially as readers begin opening the many flaps built into the illustrations, affording peeks inside vehicles, buildings, boxes, and baskets as well as behind clouds and below the sea, for example. Vignettes are introduced in rhyme: “This town is busy—everyone is on the go. How many vehicles do you know?” In addition to the obvious—a bike, bus, taxi, police car, and van—a cloud-shaped flap reveals an airplane, and one on the van folds back to show the scooter inside. A flap on a building reveals a woman on an exercise bike; a door beyond her conceals a person watching a televised stock-car race in the next room. With more than 70 flaps and a multitude of details, random facts, and vocabulary, this is a potentially longer read than most board books. The art is simple, cartoonish, and unambiguously representational; humans depicted represent a range of races, ages, genders, and abilities. The book is sturdy and the pages thick, but the flaps can be tough to operate, especially on first opening, and some will likely rip over time. Companion title My Peekaboo Farm publishes simultaneously.

Won’t last forever, but hours of entertainment while it does. (Board book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-593-3

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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An astonishing work of art and a crucial addition to every bookshelf.

WHEN WE SAY BLACK LIVES MATTER

The author of The Patchwork Bike (illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd, 2016) writes to children about the meaning of the phrase Black Lives Matter.

Pastel illustrations, also by Clarke, on dark, textured paper are paired with oversized, contrasting text addressed to “Little one.” In the visuals, a family that begins as a couple expecting a baby grows into a family with a child and then becomes part of a community in protest, marching for Black lives, before a final page shows a jubilant Black boy in a cap and gown. The adult narrator explains that “when we say Black Lives Matter, / we’re saying Black people are wonderful-strong.” Other meanings of the rallying cry, when it is called out, screamed, sung, laughed, and known, include a demand for respect, a defiant joy, a channeling of ancestors, an acknowledgment of trouble, and knowing one’s worth. Clarke’s text is poignant and mesmerizing, with design elements that raise the text to an artistic level, shaping it around the art and highlighting active and emotional words in color: enough, dancing, radiant, precious. The art is truly outstanding, gripping the heart from the very first spread and not letting go. With colored shapes and stained-glass motifs, these Black figures feel real and weighty. Within this deep dive are tragedy, fear, anger, and mourning alongside hope, comfort, strength, and triumph. This slim book contains a necessary and healing exploration of our current moment that will remain relevant for decades to come.

An astonishing work of art and a crucial addition to every bookshelf. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2238-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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An idyllic miniodyssey for young tars and travelers alike.

WHAT A SHIP SEES

A FOLD-OUT JOURNEY ACROSS THE OCEAN

A small red boat chugs through seas rough and smooth, past fish, floating plastic, and other nautical sights.

The voyage, printed on one side of a long, accordion-folded sheet, begins in a crowded harbor, continues past a (rather lush) “desert island” and through a storm, pauses while the crew (one brown-skinned, one pale) nets some floating garbage, then passes icebergs and seals on the way to a new mooring. “This little ship has seen so many things on its travels. Goodbye, ocean! Hello, land!” Expanded explanations of the kinds of ships and boats on view, along with a cutaway look at the red boat’s insides, notes on water safety and the importance of picking up litter, glimpses of select wildlife from gulls to whales, and a taste of nautical flags and terminology fill the overleaf. The animals smile, the two sailors cuddle in a peaceful moment, and, except in the storm scene, the waters in Mineker’s simple, stylized illustrations are glassy smooth, so there’s an overall sense of sunny serenity to the entire outing. The format lends itself equally well to sharing on laps or laying it out on the floor.

An idyllic miniodyssey for young tars and travelers alike. (Informational novelty. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78312-615-6

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Welbeck Children's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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