An entertaining presentation of a fascinating topic that’s more substantive and challenging than it looks. (Nonfiction....

TASTES LIKE MUSIC

17 QUIRKS OF THE BRAIN AND BODY

What if you couldn’t remember a face—even your own? Imagine not being able to forget anything from your past. What if you had Barbie-doll hair, so stiff you couldn’t possibly comb it?

Birmingham takes readers through an amazing variety of offbeat conditions, most of them inherited and some of them extremely rare. While this brief effort packs in ample information, the attractive format, casual with brightly colored pages and cartoonlike illustrations on each spread, combines with the high-interest topic to make it appear readily approachable. However, the vocabulary level and the explanations of the causes for some of the conditions are relatively complex. Some of the conditions—or “quirks” according to the subtitle—include developmental topographical disorientation, which causes sufferers to fail to recognize familiar surroundings, making it possible to get lost in one’s own home; double-jointedness; sleepwalking; color blindness; heightened ability to taste; and synesthesia, a condition that associates numbers, letters, words or music with colors. Many of the topics include a “What’s it like?” section: a brief, informative interview with a person who has that condition. Additional facts are tucked into boxes throughout, like the stages of sleep, types of joints in the human body and the anatomy of a hair follicle.

An entertaining presentation of a fascinating topic that’s more substantive and challenging than it looks. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77147-010-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star.

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DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP

A teenager faces seemingly insurmountable challenges in this riveting modern-day spinoff of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

For Ana Dakkar and her fellow ninth graders at Harding-Pencroft Academy, there is nothing more momentous than the weekend trials each student must ace at the end of freshman year. Students who fail to showcase their survival skills are asked to leave the academy, a heavily guarded place Ana has thought of as home since the mysterious deaths of her parents. Though Ana’s brother, Dev, is a senior, what happens at trials is such a closely guarded secret that no one in her year knows what to expect. While her group is out on the water for their trials, Harding-Pencroft is demolished in an attack orchestrated by a rival school. As Ana and her classmates discover that the events depicted in Jules Verne’s classic novels were real, Riordan’s lifelong love of the source material is clear—especially when Ana learns information that will help her find a way to protect the group. A foreword by Roshani Chokshi introduces this adventure that is both great entertainment and centers a well-developed protagonist who is thoughtfully shown dealing with loss. Ana is of Bundeli Indian descent, and her group of peers, who are diverse in various ways, experience losses and struggles of their own. (Final illustrations not seen.)

A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star. (Harding-Pencroft Academy guide, cast list) (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-07792-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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An impressive sequel.

PAX, JOURNEY HOME

Boy and fox follow separate paths in postwar rebuilding.

A year after Peter finds refuge with former soldier Vola, he prepares to leave to return to his childhood home. He plans to join the Junior Water Warriors, young people repurposing the machines and structures of war to reclaim reservoirs and rivers poisoned in the conflict, and then to set out on his own to live apart from others. At 13, Peter is competent and self-contained. Vola marvels at the construction of the floor of the cabin he’s built on her land, but the losses he’s sustained have left a mark. He imposes a penance on himself, reimagining the story of rescuing the orphaned kit Pax as one in which he follows his father’s counsel to kill the animal before he could form a connection. He thinks of his heart as having a stone inside it. Pax, meanwhile, has fathered three kits who claim his attention and devotion. Alternating chapters from the fox’s point of view demonstrate Pax’s care for his family—his mate, Bristle; her brother; and the three kits. Pax becomes especially attached to his daughter, who accompanies him on a journey that intersects with Peter’s and allows Peter to not only redeem his past, but imagine a future. This is a deftly nuanced look at the fragility and strength of the human heart. All the human characters read as White. Illustrations not seen.

An impressive sequel. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-293034-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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