An amusing more than informative overview of germs for an audience that may find the whole business mildly bemusing.

GERMS

FACT AND FICTION, FRIENDS AND FOES

Colorful bacteria cavort among people of various races in this simple introduction to germs.

Anthropomorphic bacteria, yeasts, molds, fungi, and viruses are depicted wearing clothes, marching in armies, climbing ladders to play on a giant fingernail, and ebulliently gathering to watch football on television. Other pages include illustrations of much more realistic-looking germs. Text, occasionally swirling across the pages, complements the playful illustrations to provide information in clear, child-friendly language. (Unfortunately, the explanation for “that funny sound you sometimes hear in your belly when you’re hungry?…it’s us germs breaking down the food!” is inaccurate; these sounds are caused by peristaltic movement of partially digested food.) Helpfully, the book also draws attention to useful microorganisms as well as the disease-causing varieties and offers very introductory information on some early scientific discoveries, mentioning microscope inventor Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek and the work of Louis Pasteur. Soft, attractive pencil, watercolor, and mixed-media illustrations match well with the text, and their energy enhances the presentation. A useful, rather detailed glossary and a short essay on the value of hand-washing follow, although some listeners may wonder why anyone would want to wash away such cute little critters. That is better explained by Nicola Davies’ Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes, illustrated by Emily Sutton (2014).

An amusing more than informative overview of germs for an audience that may find the whole business mildly bemusing. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8050-7915-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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