Sure to inspire real-life experimentation.

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LIBBY LOVES SCIENCE

From the Loves Science series

Science lover Libby works with classmates to run the science booth at the school festival in this companion to Derting and Johannes’ Cece books, illustrated by Vashti Harrison.

Libby is a black girl who loves experimenting, especially in the kitchen. At school, chemistry is right up her alley. When Mr. Darwin recruits students to run the science booth at the school fair, Libby works with Rosa and Finn to devise experiments that will be exciting enough to compete with the bouncy house. On the day of the festival, they decorate their booth artfully and set up their giant bubbles, slime ingredients, and rocketry supplies, but for a while they are overlooked. The trio manages to attract attention to their experiments, and soon they have a small crowd. Their booth doesn’t win the prize, but their class celebrates anyway with a fun and tasty chemistry experiment. Instructions for all of the science activities are included as notebook-page insets within the story spreads. The diverse characters (Rosa is brown skinned with puffy, red hair, and Finn looks Asian) are accessible and fun. Murray’s bright, cartoon illustrations, patterned after Harrison’s aesthetic, generate excitement around their adventures. While the one-note story falls a bit flat at the end, science lovers will be happy to continue collecting these titles, and the incorporation of well-loved activities like cooking and making slime just may convert science skeptics into science lovers too.

Sure to inspire real-life experimentation. (science facts) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294604-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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