A peek into how people in the northern Midwest cope with their long, frigid winters with good humor, celebrations, sports,...

WHERE ARE ALL THE MINNESOTANS?

There is nothing subtle about a picture book that asks, “Where are all the Minnesotans? Is it too cold to go outside?”

The first double-page spread depicts the front of a clapboard house, roof piled with snow, eaves hung with icicles, and a freshly shoveled walk with nary a soul in sight. If readers are thinking that the occupants of this northern Midwest state spend their winters hunkering down indoors, waiting for the spring thaw, they’d be wrong. Coleman answers her titular question emphatically “No!” and then describes the process of layering for the outdoors. Hartman’s watercolor illustrations accurately depict the puffy jackets and the toggled snow boots, knit watch caps and hats with earflaps, lined mittens and scarves covering mouths needed to face the shocking cold. Where are the Minnesotans? They are ice fishing, of course. Is it too cold to skate? Not for kids playing hockey on a frozen pond. Hartman here shows a diverse group of players in a pickup game with a girl playing center about to make a goal. Is it too cold for a parade? Nope. Astonishingly, it isn’t even too cold to fly a kite. “A frozen lake is the perfect place.”

A peek into how people in the northern Midwest cope with their long, frigid winters with good humor, celebrations, sports, and activities until summer finally arrives . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68134-040-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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