A bit behind the times but nevertheless a sturdy addition to a venerable series, filling in a ubiquitous device’s historical...

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PHONES KEEP US CONNECTED

From the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series

A basic explanation for younger children who wonder how telephones work and how they were invented.

Zoehfeld begins by describing how sound waves work (tucking in instructions for making a string telephone), then goes on to the invention of telegraphs and Morse code, followed by close looks at Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and Thomas Edison’s improvements to it. She then traces the development of wireless networks and cellphones and ends by inviting readers to think about what they wish future phones might be able to do. Suggestions for experiments to perform with the string phones readers (of course) made earlier on can be found in the backmatter along with a glossary and a short timeline of phone history. Along with labeled views of early devices and their insides, Nowowiejska adds both cartoon portraits of early inventors and a racially diverse cast of modern children (including one in a wheelchair and several with glasses). Oddly, although a child is pictured on a smartphone in an opening sequence, the author ends her discourse before the development of today’s telephony, and the timeline cuts off with the first portable phones in 1973.

A bit behind the times but nevertheless a sturdy addition to a venerable series, filling in a ubiquitous device’s historical and technological background. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-238668-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Readers (and listeners) will think that this book is the bee’s knees.

THE HONEYBEE

Children will be buzzing to learn more about honeybees after reading this story.

Hall takes her readers on a sunny romp through a springtime pasture abuzz with friendly honeybees in this bright and cheerful picture book. Hall’s rhyme scheme is inviting and mirrors the staccato sounds of a bee buzzing. At times, however, meaning seems to take a back seat to the rhyme. The bees are suggested to “tap” while flying, a noise that adult readers might have trouble explaining to curious listeners. Later, the “hill” the bees return to may elicit further questions, as this point is not addressed textually or visually. Minor quibbles aside, the vocabulary is on-point as the bees demonstrate the various stages of nectar collection and honey creation. Arsenault’s illustrations, a combination of ink, gouache, graphite, and colored pencil, are energetic and cheerful. Extra points should be awarded for properly illustrating a natural honeybee hive (as opposed to the often depicted wasp nest). The expressive bees are also well-done. Their faces are welcoming, but their sharp noses hint at the stingers that may be lurking behind them. Hall’s ending note to readers will be appreciated by adults but will require their interpretation to be accessible to children. A sensible choice for read-alouds and STEAM programs.

Readers (and listeners) will think that this book is the bee’s knees. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6997-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The outing may earn a few clicks from hand-wringing parents; young digerati will roll their eyes and go back to texting.

TEK

THE MODERN CAVE BOY

McDonnell has a bone to pick with a young Stone Age gamer who won’t leave the family cave.

The Caldecott Honor–winning cartoonist takes an uncharacteristically curmudgeonly tone in this tablet-shaped book. Depicted, in black-framed, rounded-cornered illustrations designed to look like screenshots, in front of the stone TV with tablet and game controller to hand “all day, all night, all the time,” Tek ignores the pleas of his huge dino best friend, Larry, and all others to come out. “You should never have invented the Internet,” his mom grunts to his dad. Having missed out on evolution and an entire Ice Age, Tek is finally disconnected by a helpful volcano’s eruption—and of course is completely reformed once he gets a gander at the warm sun, cool grass, and an “awesome Awesomesaurus.” “Sweet.” Afterward, in joyous full-bleed paintings, he frolics with Larry by day and reaches for the “glorious stars” by night. This screed is as subtle as a tap from a stone axe. James Proimos’ Todd’s TV (2010) and If You Give a Mouse an iPhone by “Ann Droyd” (2014) are funnier; Matthew Cordell’s buoyant Hello! Hello! (2012) is more likely to spark a bit of behavior change. Tek and his parents are reminiscent of the Flintstones, with pink skin and dark, frizzy hair.

The outing may earn a few clicks from hand-wringing parents; young digerati will roll their eyes and go back to texting. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-33805-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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