Good fun, even for those who do not consider themselves artists.

READ REVIEW

SNEAKY ART

CRAFTY SURPRISES TO HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT

First there were guerrilla knitters, now sneaky artists. Folks who want to create fun, temporary works of art for public places will have plenty of inspiration here.

Novelist and picture-book writer Jocelyn turns her talents to crafty things. Using everyday objects, preferably things pilfered from a recycling bin, people can unleash their inner artists to make whimsical creations out of buttons, twist ties, old magazines and cards, paper plates and other common items. Introduced with the proviso that these objets d’art be “easy to install and effortless to remove,” each project is designed for fun. With photos showing faces made of cut-out noses, eyes and mouths from magazines, amusing speech bubbles, adorable paper creations in matchboxes, tiny paper clotheslines, and Swedish fish hanging off of coffee cups, among others, this is an April Fooler’s dream come true. Wouldn’t it be fun to sneak a little cork boat into a public fountain and watch the reactions? Or leave a penny on colorful paper and see if someone picks it up? Teachers could adapt some of the ideas for the classroom, like making encouraging locker tags or leaving funny speech bubbles inside favorite books. Scout leaders will find new ideas here as well.

Good fun, even for those who do not consider themselves artists. (Nonfiction. 8 & up)

Pub Date: March 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5648-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An impressive manual for achieving Scratch programming mastery and creating genuinely entertaining games.

SCRATCH PROGRAMMING PLAYGROUND

LEARN TO PROGRAM BY MAKING COOL GAMES

A Scratch guide that goes beyond basic games and into some instructional depth.

After an introduction explaining the book’s structure and a first chapter that gets users up and running in Scratch, each following chapter is dedicated to a single game. From an early maze game to more-complicated games that resemble popular ones, such as a brick-breaker game and a “Fruit Ninja” clone called “Fruit Slicer,” readers are guided through screenshot illustrations of what the visual Scratch code should look like, as well as clear explanations about what the code is doing. Additionally, this manual’s heavy on customization, encouraging readers to make their own art for the games in the Scratch Paint Editor (although it also provides links to project files with sprites and other images to help those short on time or artistic abilities), and it even includes instructions on how to make “cheats” for the games. Each game is followed by skill summaries and review questions. The chapters’ complexity builds, climaxing in an ambitious, complicated-but-achievable final “Super Mario”–style game. Aside from the easy-to-follow instructions, puns give the book personality, and recommended resources pair with a thorough index to maximize usability. The structure’s ideal for classrooms, and the writing is accessible to independent readers—younger, with parental assistance.

An impressive manual for achieving Scratch programming mastery and creating genuinely entertaining games. (Nonfiction. 8-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59327-762-8

Page Count: 292

Publisher: No Starch Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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