Budding meteorologists have no shortage of introductory books from which to choose, but the clean design may help this one...

LITTLE KIDS FIRST BIG BOOK OF WEATHER

From the National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books series

An inviting photographic guide to the strange and surprising state of air all around us.

Bold photographs and color-coded chapters slice this info-packed primer into manageable portions. Each section of standard weather fare (hot, cold, wind, and rain) has a dedicated background tone, while brief mentions of weather folklore, scientific tools, and climate change complete the package. Questions to readers printed in text boxes lend themselves to further conversation, while brightly colored bubbles shout small facts and tidbits. De Seve neatly relates lessons to everyday life, as when she suggests readers imagine steam from a pot when talking about clouds. Intriguing extras include the Beaufort scale and the list of possible hurricane names for the years 2015 through 2020—which readers will quickly scour to see if their own names made the cut. Alas, the text doesn’t mention the practice of retiring names, so some astute kids may wonder why well-known past storms aren’t included. Games at the ends of chapters are meant to reinforce lessons learned, but most are just quick puzzles to add a bit of liveliness. The variety of skin tones of humans portrayed in the carefully chosen photographs is appreciated.

Budding meteorologists have no shortage of introductory books from which to choose, but the clean design may help this one stand out. (parent tips, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2719-3

Page Count: 132

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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