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

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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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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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