Careless, bland, superficial work unlikely to light or nourish interest in the topic.

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ANIMALS AT NIGHT

From the Glow in the Dark series

Select galleries of nocturnal and crepuscular creatures in 11 settings, with a 12th on a detachable, glow-in-the-dark foldout poster.

The whole production has a slapdash air, as the dusk-to-dawn scenes shift arbitrarily from a generic cityscape with five animal foragers (plus the sole human figure here, a dark-skinned child staring at an outsized raccoon opening a garbage can) to an unnamed tropical rainforest, then an Australian beach, the “Outback,” a woodland vaguely located in North America, and on…finishing with a small poster labeled “Deep Sea” and teeming with unidentified creatures. Elsewhere the animals (and a few plants, which may confuse readers who take the title literally) are named—some in the narrative, some with a bare label in the illustration, some with a label and descriptive comment: “Badgers,” as Flint ungrammatically observes, “have an excellent sense of smell, sight, and hearing.” Though the author makes frequent mention of predators and prey, there is no chasing or eating to be seen in Li’s static, neatly painted scenes. Recent and more illuminating ventures into night life include Anne Jankélowitch and Delphine Chedru’s Animals at Night (2017), which also has glow-in-the-dark art, and Linda Stanek and Shennen Bersani’s Night Creepers (2017).

Careless, bland, superficial work unlikely to light or nourish interest in the topic. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-540-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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It’s not the most dramatic version, but it’s a visually effective and serviceable addition to the rapidly growing shelf of...

THE FIRST MEN WHO WENT TO THE MOON

A 50th-anniversary commemoration of the epochal Apollo 11 mission.

Modeling her account on “The House That Jack Built” (an unspoken, appropriate nod to President John F. Kennedy’s foundational role in the enterprise), Greene takes Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins from liftoff to post-splashdown ticker-tape parade. Side notes on some spreads and two pages of further facts with photographs at the end, all in smaller type, fill in select details about the mission and its historical context. The rhymed lines are fully cumulated only once, so there is some repetition but never enough to grow monotonous: “This is the Moon, a mysterious place, / a desolate land in the darkness of space, / far from Earth with oceans blue.” Also, the presentation of the text in just three or fewer lines per spread stretches out the narrative and gives Brundage latitude for both formal and informal group portraits of Apollo 11’s all-white crew, multiple glimpses of our planet and the moon at various heights, and, near the end, atmospheric (so to speak) views of the abandoned lander and boot prints in the lunar dust.

It’s not the most dramatic version, but it’s a visually effective and serviceable addition to the rapidly growing shelf of tributes to our space program’s high-water mark. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58536-412-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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