An eye-pleasing seek-and-find tale sure to entertain budding environmentalists.

OCEANS!

A KAYFUL BOOKS SEEK-AND-FIND ADVENTURE

From the Science Series series , Vol. 1

A debut picture book focuses on science facts and ocean preservation.

Humans and sea creatures of all types fill these densely illustrated pages, introduced through Fulkerson’s rhythmic, rhyming text. The intent of this educational seek-and-find series opener is clear from the first two-page spread. When it comes to oceans, “there isn’t a way for us to measure their beauty and their worth.” The author makes use of ocean vocabulary (“krill,” “mollusks,” “grouper,” “anemones”) throughout, seeding the more difficult words within the context of familiar ones. The text and the activities at the end, including complex writing exercises and a bonus literary seek-and-find, seem geared toward independent readers, who may pick up some new non-ocean vocabulary words as well (“churn,” “unjust”). Debut illustrator Morais works many visual jokes into the playful images of sea creatures and diverse humans featured here. Some of the pictures tie in less closely to the text than others—rhymes on the types of animals found in the ocean are accompanied by a pirate shipwreck. But all are peppered with so many things to discover, children won’t mind. Hidden words on each page form an environmental message for readers to unscramble, and a helpful list of concealed creatures identifies many species depicted in the illustrations.

An eye-pleasing seek-and-find tale sure to entertain budding environmentalists. (quiz, facts, activities)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947486-12-6

Page Count: 37

Publisher: Eaton Press

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2020

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Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to.

HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER

Pearl and her robot, Pascal, take their coding skills for a spin at the amusement park in this Girls Who Code picture book, a follow-up to How To Code a Sandcastle (2018).

The park has many rides to choose from, and Pearl has 10 tokens to last her the day. But her favorite ride, the Python roller coaster, looks busy. Pearl decides to do something else fun, using code concepts such as variables to keep track of the length of the line and her remaining tokens and a conditional statement to decide when to return to the Python. Throughout, computer science terms are defined crisply in the text and vividly illustrated in the pictures, which use images such as popcorn bags for variables and the Ferris wheel for loops (keeping track of ice cream flavors seems somewhat contrived). The backmatter explains these ideas more fully. Pascal’s too-literal interpretations of Pearl’s statements make for several amusing moments along the way. When Pearl runs short of tokens (a missed opportunity to talk about checking for more than one condition?), she’s undaunted by the disaster, taking readers on a fun hunt for a secret hidden password, in a nod to the importance of proper sequencing. Pearl has brown skin and black curls; others at the park have a variety of skin tones.

Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-29203-7

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A simple but effective look at a keystone species.

IF YOU TAKE AWAY THE OTTER

Sea otters are the key to healthy kelp forests on the Pacific coast of North America.

There have been several recent titles for older readers about the critical role sea otters play in the coastal Pacific ecosystem. This grand, green version presents it to even younger readers and listeners, using a two-level text and vivid illustrations. Biologist Buhrman-Deever opens as if she were telling a fairy tale: “On the Pacific coast of North America, where the ocean meets the shore, there are forests that have no trees.” The treelike forms are kelp, home to numerous creatures. Two spreads show this lush underwater jungle before its king, the sea otter, is introduced. A delicate balance allows this system to flourish, but there was a time that hunting upset this balance. The writer is careful to blame not the Indigenous peoples who had always hunted the area, but “new people.” In smaller print she explains that Russian explorations spurred the development of an international fur trade. Trueman paints the scene, concentrating on an otter family threatened by formidable harpoons from an abstractly rendered person in a small boat, with a sailing ship in the distance. “People do not always understand at first the changes they cause when they take too much.” Sea urchins take over; a page turn reveals a barren landscape. Happily, the story ends well when hunting stops and the otters return…and with them, the kelp forests.

A simple but effective look at a keystone species. (further information, select bibliography, additional resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8934-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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