Calling out to history buffs and scientists, this will inspire young inventors.

READ REVIEW

ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL ANSWERS THE CALL

From an early age “Aleck” (Bell’s family nickname) evinced an interest in sound and hearing, probably due to his father’s profession of speech therapy and his mother’s hearing loss.

Aleck’s childhood experiences, observations, and experiments led to his careers, first as a teacher to the deaf and then as an inventor of the telephone. Aleck was determined to speed up communication and improve on the telegraph, first developed in the 1830s. The book’s accessible text focuses on his life up to and including the invention of the telephone in 1876, when he was 29. His later inventions are described in the backmatter, along with a chronology and an author’s note. The multimedia illustrations use photographic collage elements, friendly, slightly cartoony human figures, and sound effects and dialogue balloons on some pages. Photographic insets and diagrams further explain Bell’s work. This expands the content of the book and makes it appealing to both children looking for the story of Bell’s life and his lifelong curiosity and those more interested in scientific explanations. However, it lacks a bibliography. The front and rear endpapers are of particular note, depicting a photographic history of the telephone from 1876 to 1989 in sepia tone. The author’s note describes Aleck’s interest in photography and her own desire to incorporate photography in different ways in the book’s design.

Calling out to history buffs and scientists, this will inspire young inventors. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-721-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining.

DR. SEUSS'S HORSE MUSEUM

A succinct introduction to art history via a Seussian museum of equine art.

This posthumously published text recently discovered in Ted Geisel’s studio uses horse-focused art pieces to provide historical context to artistic movements. Showing art ranging from the Lascaux cave paintings to an untitled 1994 sculpture by Deborah Butterfield, Joyner’s playful illustrations surround the curated photographs of art pieces. By using horses as the departing point in the artistic journey, Seuss and Joyner are able to introduce diverse perspectives, artifacts, and media, including Harnessed Horse from the northern Wei dynasty, a Navajo pictorial blanket titled Oh, My Beautiful Horses, and photographs by Eadweard Muybridge. Questions to readers prompt thought about the artistic concepts introduced, aided by a cast of diverse museumgoers who demonstrate the art terms in action. Joyner further engages readers by illustrating both general cultural and Seussian references. Glimpses of the Cat in the Hat are seen throughout the book; he poses as a silent observer, genially guarding Seuss’ legacy. For art enthusiasts, some illustrations become an inside joke, as references to artists such as Alexander Calder, Salvador Dalí, Marina Abramovic, and René Magritte make appearances. Thorough backmatter contains notes on each art piece referenced along with a study of the manuscript’s history and Seuss’ artistic style. Absent, probably unsurprisingly, is any acknowledgment of the Cat’s antecedents in minstrelsy and Seuss’ other racist work, but prominent among the museumgoers are black- and Asian-presenting characters as well as a girl wearing hijab and a child who uses a wheelchair.

A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55912-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more