A gentle exploration of culture and nature.

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FUEGO, FUEGITO / FIRE, LITTLE FIRE

Argueta’s playful trilingual homage to fire spans its incarnation from spark to lava flow.

Fire can come singing into its strength at the striking of two stones or from a bolt slashing through the sky. As the oldest and strongest of all “Grandfather” elements on Mother Earth, its presence is seen and felt in ritual ceremonies and in kitchen hearths. But whereas Agüita/Little Water, from Argueta’s previous elemental book Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water (2017), declares at the end, “I am life,” Fuego/Fueguito claims to be “…the joyful energy of life.” By employing the diminutive Fueguito/Little Flame, the poet creates an affectionate tone with which fire introduces itself—thereby permitting the austere and imposing Fuego/Fire to transform into the friendly, helpful spark/chispita. In the body of the book, Argueta’s Spanish verse is printed above the English (translated by the author and Maillet) on the page, separated by Mesoamerican-inspired symbols. Communicating his and his people’s (Pipil Nahua) respect for nature, Argueta includes his Náhuat translation of his poem. Alcántara’s landscapes vary from the fury of a volcanic explosion to the stark beauty of the American Southwest. Full-page blazes of oranges, yellows, reds, and indigo underscore the simple narrative of the poem.

A gentle exploration of culture and nature. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-55885-887-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so...

TOUCH THE EARTH

From the Julian Lennon White Feather Flier Adventure series , Vol. 1

A pro bono Twinkie of a book invites readers to fly off in a magic plane to bring clean water to our planet’s oceans, deserts, and brown children.

Following a confusingly phrased suggestion beneath a soft-focus world map to “touch the Earth. Now touch where you live,” a shake of the volume transforms it into a plane with eyes and feathered wings that flies with the press of a flat, gray “button” painted onto the page. Pressing like buttons along the journey releases a gush of fresh water from the ground—and later, illogically, provides a filtration device that changes water “from yucky to clean”—for thirsty groups of smiling, brown-skinned people. At other stops, a tap on the button will “help irrigate the desert,” and touching floating bottles and other debris in the ocean supposedly makes it all disappear so the fish can return. The 20 children Coh places on a globe toward the end are varied of skin tone, but three of the four young saviors she plants in the flier’s cockpit as audience stand-ins are white. The closing poem isn’t so openly parochial, though it seldom rises above vague feel-good sentiments: “Love the Earth, the moon and sun. / All the children can be one.”

“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so easy to clean the place up and give everyone a drink? (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2083-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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