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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

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Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of...

An international story tackles a serious global issue with Reynolds’ characteristic visual whimsy.

Gie Gie—aka Princess Gie Gie—lives with her parents in Burkina Faso. In her kingdom under “the African sky, so wild and so close,” she can tame wild dogs with her song and make grass sway, but despite grand attempts, she can neither bring the water closer to home nor make it clean. French words such as “maintenant!” (now!) and “maman” (mother) and local color like the karite tree and shea nuts place the story in a French-speaking African country. Every morning, Gie Gie and her mother perch rings of cloth and large clay pots on their heads and walk miles to the nearest well to fetch murky, brown water. The story is inspired by model Georgie Badiel, who founded the Georgie Badiel Foundation to make clean water accessible to West Africans. The details in Reynolds’ expressive illustrations highlight the beauty of the West African landscape and of Princess Gie Gie, with her cornrowed and beaded hair, but will also help readers understand that everyone needs clean water—from the children of Burkina Faso to the children of Flint, Michigan.

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of potable water. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17258-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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