CLEVER HANS

THE TRUE STORY OF THE COUNTING, ADDING, AND TIME-TELLING HORSE

An astonishing horse baffled both the public and the scientific community.

In 1904 Berlin, Wilhelm von Osten taught his horse, Clever Hans, how to count, discern colors, and perform other intellectual tasks. He then showcased Clever Hans’ talents to the masses, and people were astounded to see a horse that could seemingly tell time, add up sums, and count money! But not everyone believed the spectacle. Some thought there must be trickery involved. One scientist investigated independently, and the German government asked another to assemble a team of investigators. They decided it wasn’t a trick, but they still couldn’t understand the phenomenon. Then a scientist named Oskar Pfungst made an important discovery. What he realized about Clever Hans—who was certainly clever, just not quite in the way everyone thought—changed the scientific process forever. Kokias’ clear, accessible tone pairs well with Lowery’s cartoon style. The comically smiling horse invites readers in, and intermittent paneled frames help organize the flow of information and visually propel the storytelling arc. Von Osten, the investigators, and spectators present white. English translations of certain German words (“Zeitungen”—“Newspapers”) are also included, with playful arrows pointing readers to them. An author’s note further explains the “Clever Hans Effect” and how it changed science.

Clever, indeed. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-9 )

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51498-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A book to share that celebrates an immigrant and his abiding love for his adopted country, its holidays, and his “home sweet...

IRVING BERLIN, THE IMMIGRANT BOY WHO MADE AMERICA SING

A Jewish immigrant from Russia gives America some of its most iconic and beloved songs.

When Israel Baline was just 5 years old, his family fled pogroms in the Russian Empire and landed in New York City’s Lower East Side community. In the 1890s the neighborhood was filled with the sights, smells, and, most of all, sounds of a very crowded but vibrant community of poor Europeans who sailed past the Statue of Liberty in New York’s harbor to make a new life. Israel, who later became Irving Berlin, was eager to capture those sounds in music. He had no formal musical training but succeeded grandly by melding the rich cantorial music of his father with the spirit of America. Churnin’s text focuses on Berlin’s early years and how his mother’s words were an inspiration for “God Bless America.” She does not actually refer to Berlin as Jewish until her author’s note. Sanchez’s digital illustrations busily fill the mostly dark-hued pages with angular faces and the recurring motif of a very long swirling red scarf, worn by Berlin throughout. Librarians should note that the CIP information and the timeline are on pages pasted to the inside covers.

A book to share that celebrates an immigrant and his abiding love for his adopted country, its holidays, and his “home sweet home.” (author’s note, timeline) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-939547-44-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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