A fun introduction for budding scientists.



An outdoorsy child wants to know what the sun is made of in this conservation-oriented debut picture book by Settecasi with illustrations by Bohart (Windermere’s Wish, 2017).

Blue-eyed, red-haired Ford decides to ask the sun a question, and he and his trusty cat Max head off to find it. He asks the sky, a river, a tree, a fish, a frog, and, finally, a bear where the sun is. To each, Ford reveals something he knows, and the helper offers information; for instance, Ford says the river provides water to drink, and the river says the sun’s “heat turns me into clouds and rain,” introducing readers to the water cycle. When Ford finds the sun, it explains that it provides light and heat so that life on Earth can thrive. Ford later asks his mother what he, himself, is made of and sees that he’s connected to everything else. This simplified introduction to the makeup of matter is easy to grasp, with cartoonishly illustrated anthropomorphic characters that young readers will enjoy. A seek-and-find game hides science terms on each page, explained in a glossary. An introduction shows a photo of the inspirational, real-life Ford, the author’s grandson; Bohart’s color images match him to a T.

A fun introduction for budding scientists.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-96939-7

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Ingram

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2018

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.


Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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