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Readers will be sucked in despite the certainty of spaghettification.

Astro nut Jordie fully appreciates the gravity of the situation when a black hole appears inside her school desk.

In an episode that leaves no pun unturned, the unwelcome if exciting visitor, showing “less-than-stellar” manners, quickly gobbles down Jordie’s crayons, lunchbox, and other stuff—and worse, once she contrives to sneak it home, everything in her room (except a pair of unicorn underwear), including her dog, Neptune. There’s nothing for it but to take the plunge herself despite the discomfort of feeling her body stretching out like a noodle (a gravity effect that astrophysicists, as Boyle explains in an afterword, evocatively call being “spaghettified”) and the fact that there’s no obvious way to escape since black holes trap even light. In the cartoon illustrations, Jordie, a light-skinned child with unruly blond hair, faces off against a growing black blot with googly eyes as her parents, her brown-skinned teacher, and her racially diverse classmates remain oblivious. Readers may wonder how she’s ever going to get out of her predicament, but, being observant as well as clever (a good combination for a budding scientist), she has a snappy solution that she pulls out of her pocket as soon as she’s gathered up her noodled pooch and other possessions. Then she boots the voracious vagrant into the sky, where it can “graze galaxies and slurp stars” to its heart’s content. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Readers will be sucked in despite the certainty of spaghettification. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-53411-152-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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From the Julian Lennon White Feather Flier Adventure series , Vol. 1

“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so...

A pro bono Twinkie of a book invites readers to fly off in a magic plane to bring clean water to our planet’s oceans, deserts, and brown children.

Following a confusingly phrased suggestion beneath a soft-focus world map to “touch the Earth. Now touch where you live,” a shake of the volume transforms it into a plane with eyes and feathered wings that flies with the press of a flat, gray “button” painted onto the page. Pressing like buttons along the journey releases a gush of fresh water from the ground—and later, illogically, provides a filtration device that changes water “from yucky to clean”—for thirsty groups of smiling, brown-skinned people. At other stops, a tap on the button will “help irrigate the desert,” and touching floating bottles and other debris in the ocean supposedly makes it all disappear so the fish can return. The 20 children Coh places on a globe toward the end are varied of skin tone, but three of the four young saviors she plants in the flier’s cockpit as audience stand-ins are white. The closing poem isn’t so openly parochial, though it seldom rises above vague feel-good sentiments: “Love the Earth, the moon and sun. / All the children can be one.”

“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so easy to clean the place up and give everyone a drink? (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2083-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Hurray for the underdog.

Heart (-shaped surface feature) literally broken by its demotion from planet status, Pluto glumly conducts readers on a tour of the solar system.

You’d be bummed, too. Angrily rejecting the suggestions of “mean scientists” from Earth that “ice dwarf” or “plutoid” might serve as well (“Would you like to be called humanoid?”), Pluto drifts out of the Kuiper Belt to lead readers past the so-called “real” planets in succession. All sport faces with googly eyes in Keller’s bright illustrations, and distinct personalities, too—but also actual physical characteristics (“Neptune is pretty icy. And gassy. I’m not being mean, he just is”) that are supplemented by pages of “fun facts” at the end. Having fended off Saturn’s flirtation, endured Jupiter’s stormy reception (“Keep OFF THE GAS!”) and relentless mockery from the asteroids, and given Earth the cold shoulder, Pluto at last takes the sympathetic suggestion of Venus and Mercury to talk to the Sun. “She’s pretty bright.” A (what else?) warm welcome, plus our local star’s comforting reminders that every celestial body is unique (though “people talk about Uranus for reasons I don’t really want to get into”), and anyway, scientists are still arguing the matter because that’s what “science” is all about, mend Pluto’s heart at last: “Whatever I’m called, I’ll always be PLUTO!”

Hurray for the underdog. (afterword) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1453-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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