Nourishing fare for young stargazers who really, truly do “wonder what you are.” (Informational picture book. 6-9)

READ REVIEW

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR, I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE

From an astrophysicist, the straight dope on stars and starry phenomena.

Kregenow responds to the popular nursery rhyme in the same metrical vein but with analytical precision: “Opaque ball of hot dense gas, / million times our planet’s mass, / looking small because you’re far, / I know exactly what you are.” Further verses clear the air about constellations (“at best / just a cosmic Rorschach test”), why stars twinkle, why they shine in different colors, how they can turn into neutron stars or black holes, and so on. Notes at the end, with small photos, offer further detail on these and other cosmic concepts. Saldaña sandwiches painted images of stars and star fields, planets, and dust clouds between views of two dark-haired beige-skinned children peering through a bedroom telescope at the night sky and using a printed guidebook to identify what they’re seeing, then falling asleep beneath a spray of stars projected by a night light. The technical vocabulary as well as the narrative’s coldly rational tone and blanket claims of certainty lay a heavy load on the original verse—but in the end the references to pulsars and supernovas, to billions of years and miles, and the uniqueness (so far) of our planet as a home for life amid the Milky Way’s “Quarter trillion stars” are less apt to quash the wondering than crank it up.

Nourishing fare for young stargazers who really, truly do “wonder what you are.” (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7006-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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