A good guide for beginners and browsers, but not suitable for research.



This chatty guide to money works to make the subject appealing to middle-schoolers but is regrettably short on sourcing.

Vermond first defines what money is: More than just dollars and cents, money is "an agreement between people in an economy." Since we can't steal the things we need, she explains, there are multiple ways to make money. Money can be earned by jobs that reward workers for their time and special skills. Alternatively, you could be an entrepreneur and take on the risk and rewards of starting your own business. Of course, there's also imaginary money, aka credit, and its associated perils of debt and interest. The importance of saving is highlighted, from simple self-control and delayed gratification to investing and the advantage of compound interest. The text zips along, accompanied by two-color line art and frequent sidebars, with information on such topics as ancient money and interviews with financial experts. The author has a talent for explaining finance in an enthusiastic, easy-to-understand manner, yet with no works cited or references listed, there are questions about where these facts and figures come from.

A good guide for beginners and browsers, but not suitable for research. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-926973-19-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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Science rules the day, but “at the same time, keep an open mind”: wise words.



Scientific explanations for mysteries that have given rise to fantastical stories.

Encounters with aliens and haunted houses, quests for lost worlds and monsters of the deep, mysteries of ancient tombs and those returned from the dead—all sparkle here both as stories and as targets for scientific examination in Hulick and Wright’s terrific collection of creepy events. “Every mystery has an explanation. Getting to the bottom of it is what science is all about,” writes Hulick. But that doesn’t keep her from giving full voice to the mysteries at the beginning of each episode. Having set the folkloric or legendary scene, and accompanied by transportingly spooky artwork from Wright, Hulick puts on her scientist’s cap and seeks to make sense of the mysteries. In some cases the answers are circumstantial (“people experience strange things in haunted houses because they’re expecting strange things to happen”) and in other cases, clear-cut, as in the photograph of the Loch Ness Monster that turned out to be a hoax (but not before gaining plenty of traction). The book touches down all over the map of mysteries, from telepathy, clairvoyance, and telekinesis to Mu and Atlantis, Yeti and Bigfoot, the kraken and the Bermuda Triangle. The tone is respectful of both the mystery and the conclusions, of which not all are the last word. “The truth is that the natural world is an amazing place.”

Science rules the day, but “at the same time, keep an open mind”: wise words. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-784-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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An ambitious coder’s new best friend



A kids’ guide to coding simple games using CSS and JavaScript.

The multiethnic group of Ruby, Markus, Grace, Rusty, and their cat mascot, Scratch, invites readers to help them as they prepare five different games for a hackathon in which they will compete against their rival, SaberTooth Studios. The types of games are tic-tac-toe (called “noughts and crosses,” to align with the British creator’s website), a snake game, table tennis, an endless-runner game similar to Temple Run, and a side-scrolling platformer (think: Super Mario). Each lesson takes readers through it one game component at a time, ultimately building the code to double-page spreads that display the full code for each game at the end of its chapter. These lessons do a good job of contextualizing and explaining how the code functions as well as showing how much code goes into even the most basic of games. The Get Coding website is also referenced throughout as a resource for the activities and a source for some components of the final game (the shortest chapter of the book). The hackathon storyline, however, feels tacked on and provides little benefit—the premise is repeated a couple of times and then resolves off-page between chapters 4 and 5. The design helps break down explanatory text and walls of code into manageable chunks (though the escalating complexity of code may intimidate some beginners), and the illustrations will be full color. Along with an index, there’s an introduction with an efficient history of computer games.

An ambitious coder’s new best friend . (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1030-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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