From the Amazing Scientists series

A fun read and an uplifting story.

The true story of an African-American woman who broke barriers by reaching her potential as an engineer.

When Raye Montague saw a submarine at age 7 and learned that an engineer had built it, she found her calling. Her mother told her to stay strong and not let those who looked down on her because of her race and her gender hold her back. She attended segregated schools, and in college she was told that engineering was not taught to black students, so she majored in business. She became a typist in a place where they built submarines, and although her boss underestimated her, Raye paid attention at work and took classes at night. When the flu had most of the staff out sick, Raye did the engineers’ work “from MEMORY.” She got promoted and went on to design the first ship by computer. It was not all smooth sailing, though; only white men were invited to the unveiling of the ship she had designed, and she was still treated with disrespect. The use of perspective and artful composition in the simple illustrations conveys Montague’s isolation and her determination. The text, in light rhyming verse, condemns the unfair treatment she received (“No invite?! / ABHORRIBLE!”)—a great model for building awareness of racism and solid inspiration for achieving against the odds. The author interviewed Montague for her research, and further information culled from the conversation appears in the backmatter.

A fun read and an uplifting story. (timeline, biographical note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943147-42-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018


A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023


Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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