A lively (if unusually lengthy for the format) volume that may inspire readers to share Newton’s interest in the world...

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NEWTON'S RAINBOW

THE REVOLUTIONARY DISCOVERIES OF A YOUNG SCIENTIST

The story of how Isaac Newton, a lackluster student at the bottom of his class, became one of the most influential scientists in history.

“If I have seen further, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants,” Newton said when asked how he could see and understand things that others didn’t. Galileo and Kepler were two of those giants, and a page is devoted to each in the course of this colorful treatment of the young scientist. Newton may have not been a stellar student, but he was interested in the world around him—the bloodsucking leeches and frogs’ livers used by the local apothecary, why apples fall down and not up or sideways, and why planets move. Lasky’s eye for the telling detail and Hawkes’ child-friendly illustrations capture the young Isaac Newton’s school days and his creative work during the bubonic plague and the Great Fire of London. However, the pages are dense with text, and in trying to make Newton’s complex ideas accessible to young readers, Lasky occasionally resorts to textbook-speak: “He was already using the laws of motion, laws that he would later explain and that form the basis of modern physics.” Overall, though, text and art work well together to portray Newton’s curiosity and sense of wonder.

A lively (if unusually lengthy for the format) volume that may inspire readers to share Newton’s interest in the world around them. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-35513-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are...

DRAGONS AND MARSHMALLOWS

From the Zoey and Sassafras series , Vol. 1

Zoey discovers that she can see magical creatures that might need her help.

That’s a good thing because her mother has been caring for the various beasts since childhood, but now she’s leaving on a business trip so the work will fall to Zoey. Most people (like Zoey’s father) can’t see the magical creatures, so Zoey, who appears in illustrations to be black, will have to experiment with their care by problem-solving using the scientific method to determine appropriate treatment and feeding. When a tiny, sick dragon shows up on her doorstep, she runs an experiment and determines that marshmallows appear to be the proper food. Unfortunately, she hadn’t done enough research beforehand to understand that although dragons might like marshmallows, they might not be the best food for a sick, fire-breathing baby. Although the incorporation of important STEM behaviors is a plus, the exposition is mildly clunky, with little character development and stilted dialogue. Many pages are dense with large-print text, related in Zoey’s not especially childlike voice. However, the inclusion in each chapter of a couple of attractive black-and-white illustrations of round-faced people and Zoey’s mischievous cat helps break up the narrative.

In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are nice to see. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943147-08-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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