Smart girls, friendship, and fun: a winning combination.

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CECE LOVES SCIENCE AND ADVENTURE

From the Cece Loves Science series

Cece uses her science skills at camp with her friends.

Cece is excited for her Adventure Girls camping trip, where, with her mother as group leader, she’ll be able to explore science in nature with her friends Daisy and Caroline. As a scout and as a scientist, she uses checklists to pack and be prepared. At camp, the girls work together to set up their tent; a series of illustrations shows how. When they go on a hike, Cece takes pictures of landmarks to track their route. When the sky grows dark, Cece uses her knowledge of types of clouds and the timing between thunder and lightning to figure out how far away the storm is. When her mom’s GPS stops working, Cece recommends using her pictures to make a map back to the campsite. With some clever improvisation, they make a shelter to stay dry and then find their way back to camp. For their problem-solving and science, the girls earn more than just the camping badge. (One wonders how prepared the leader was, but no matter; Cece to the rescue!) The bright, animation-style illustrations depict fluffy-haired Cece and her straight-haired mother; Daisy sports braids and a darker skin tone, and Caroline appears Asian. (Cece’s white dad, introduced in Cece Loves Science, 2018, stays at home in this outing.) Cece’s checklists and notes are interspersed throughout, Magic Schoolbus–style, and an endnote defines science terms.

Smart girls, friendship, and fun: a winning combination. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-249962-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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