Similar tours abound, but a well-informed chaperone gives this one an added boost. .

DR. MAGGIE'S GRAND TOUR OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM

With a genial BBC science educator as guide, a good gander round our stellar neighborhood, from Earth to Oort cloud.

Promising to leave “no question unanswered and no meteorite unturned,” the space-suited co-host of the long-running The Sky at Night leads readers past the sun, planets, moons, and other major members of our local “gravity gang.” She pauses to point out the International Space Station and the ring of “space junk” around Earth, describe the missions of select historical space probes, and marvel at must-see high spots like the rings of Saturn and the 20-km-high cliff Verona Rupes on Uranus’ moon Miranda. Along the way she also explains how orbits and lunar phases work, speculates about other places where life (as we know it) may be possible, discusses a theorized “Planet Nine” that may be out there somewhere, and casts a final glance at the composition of interstellar space. Her commentary, presented in lozenge-shaped bubbles, is scattered over mixes of photos and digital renderings so seamlessly blended that the difference between observable features and speculative ones is sometimes lost in the shuffle. Still, the substantial factual payload, ably abetted by a closing “ship’s database” that includes a largely female gallery of astronomers and other “space people,” is lightened by the author/narrator’s chatty style.

Similar tours abound, but a well-informed chaperone gives this one an added boost. . (index, glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68464-064-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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WHEN APPLES GREW NOSES AND WHITE HORSES FLEW

TALES OF TI-JEAN

Il était une fois…” French Canada’s version of beanstalk-climbing Jack gets a rare outing in three tales refashioned from old sources by a veteran storyteller. Preserving the lightest touch of a French inflection—“Cric, crac, / Parli, parlons, parlo. / If you won’t listen, / Out you go”—Andrews sets her naïve but teachable everylad up against a trio of opponents. There is a grasping princess who tricks him out of a magic belt, moneybag and trumpet; a murderous little man who sets him on numerous impossible tasks after beating him at marbles; and a harsh seigneur who insists on chucking his intellectual daughter’s suitors into the dungeon when they prove to be less clever than she. Thanks to hard work, a little magic and a winning way with the ladies, Ti-Jean ultimately comes out on top in each episode while never allowing lasting harm to come to anyone and is ever magnanimous in victory. Illustrated with frequent scribbly, lighthearted ink-and-wash scenes and vignettes, these stories read with equal ease silently or aloud and offer a winning introduction to a universal folk character. Equally charming is the source note, in which Andrews describes the origins of the tales and how she worked with them. “Sac-à-tabac, / Sac-à-tabi. / The story’s ended, / C’est fini.(Folktales. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-88899-952-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote...

COYOTE TALES

Two republished tales by a Greco-Cherokee author feature both folkloric and modern elements as well as new illustrations.

One of the two has never been offered south of the (Canadian) border. In “Coyote Sings to the Moon,” the doo-wop hymn sung nightly by Old Woman and all the animals except tone-deaf Coyote isn’t enough to keep Moon from hiding out at the bottom of the lake—until she is finally driven forth by Coyote’s awful wailing. She has been trying to return to the lake ever since, but that piercing howl keeps her in the sky. In “Coyote’s New Suit” he is schooled in trickery by Raven, who convinces him to steal the pelts of all the other animals while they’re bathing, sends the bare animals to take clothes from the humans’ clothesline, and then sets the stage for a ruckus by suggesting that Coyote could make space in his overcrowded closet by having a yard sale. No violence ensues, but from then to now humans and animals have not spoken to one another. In Eggenschwiler’s monochrome scenes Coyote and the rest stand on hind legs and (when stripped bare) sport human limbs. Old Woman might be Native American; the only other completely human figure is a pale-skinned girl.

Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote tales. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-833-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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