From the Boy, Were We Wrong series

A humorous take on an endlessly interesting subject.

From dancing to appease a weather god to observing and investigating with modern scientific tools, humans have come a long way in their understanding of the weather.

The author of previous titles about old and new ideas about dinosaurs and the solar system here introduces Earth’s weather and climate. This lighthearted overview skips lightly through history and around the world, giving examples of past weather explanations and prediction methods. Each former belief is contrasted with today’s understandings about: the water cycle; thunderstorms; the vital role of the sun and the importance of many other geographical factors; using instruments and satellites to make predictions of hurricanes and other weather phenomena; and past and present climate change, including modern global warming and new, more destructive weather patterns. About modern climate change deniers, Kudlinski boldly states, “Boy, are they wrong!” (One exception to the “Boy, were they wrong!” pattern is the 2,000-year-old adage about red skies in the morning. This works, and Kudlinski provides a scientific explanation.) Serra’s lively cartoon-style illustrations, created with pencil and computer graphics, are cheery and upbeat. Gray storms are contrasted with colorful indoor and outdoor scenes. Simplifying such a complex subject can lead to missteps, such as suggesting that “germs” can form the cores of raindrops rather than bacteria. But overall the information is appropriate for the intended readers.

A humorous take on an endlessly interesting subject. (timeline, websites) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3793-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015


Informative, empowering, and fun.

Girl power abounds in this book about coding that introduces young readers to the world of programming while offering them hands-on activities via a companion app.

In this title that was first introduced as a customizable, personalized print-on-demand product, Rox has a superpower. Using code, she programs toy robots that can do things like make broccoli disappear—or mischief. When Dad tells Rox to clean her room, she quickly thinks up a bot that will do it for her, writing code that instructs her bot to use artificial intelligence to sort objects by color and type. Though Rox knows that there’s a high potential for her creation to rebel, the perks outweigh any potential adverse effects. Rox’s robot has her room neat and tidy in no time—and then the entire home. Chorebot’s AI allows it to keep learning, and it seems Chorebot can do no wrong until the robot decides to rearrange the entire city (both buildings and people) by type, style, and gender. Chorebot goes “out of his artificial mind!” Rox must now stop her creation…without the assistance of the internet. The artwork, styled in the tradition of popular superhero series, is peppy and colorful, and it depicts Rox as an adorable black girl donning a black bomber jacket and a pink tutu. A companion app (not available for review) allows readers to create a bot of their own.

Informative, empowering, and fun. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-57687-899-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018


A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

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 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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