A brief but lively episode for young STEM pullers, easily bearing a substantial informational load.


From the Art Smart, Science Detective series , Vol. 1

A young sleuth observes and reasons his way to the true nature of an apparent UFO.

His mom may claim that “not everything can be explained with logic and reason,” but those tools serve 10-year-old Art well—whether the mystery involves missing chocolate kisses (“The evidence was right there on my dad’s face”) or the weird purple blotch that swims into view when he aims his telescope at the night sky. True, the latter sight does have him and his three friends covering the garage windows, “shoving” peanut butter in their ears to ward off hypnotic voices (“It works better than cotton”), and calling the police. Amid the ruckus, though, Art suddenly notices that the blotch is in the same position no matter where the telescope points…and with a wet wipe solves the mystery. Along the way, the author slips in references to some constellations, a mnemonic phrase to keep the planets in order, and other useful bits of knowledge. Art even steps out between each chapter to deliver brief lectures, and an epilogue offers young stargazers leads to further information about Galileo and the constellations. The figures in Wyrick’s illustrations, though immobile of face and artificial of pose, do add some diversity by casting Robbie as black and Jason as a boy of color; Art and Amy are white.

A brief but lively episode for young STEM pullers, easily bearing a substantial informational load. (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61117-935-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Young Palmetto Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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This bittersweet tale takes readers into a dark, ancient woods in the American Northwest. A father and son make this forest their special place to commune with the wild, to visit with the creatures that live therein, and to revel in the mesmerizing views. One day they find spots painted on the trees, markings for loggers. The boy and his father and family ignite a small grassroots resistance to the felling of the trees. They fight for something they believe in—it is almost a sacred obligation for them—but they are unsuccessful: the laws governing private property prevail. The trees are cut and, luckily, the father and son find another stand in which to take solace. The Rands (A Home for Spooky, 1998, etc.) offer a bright fusion of the cautionary and the inspirational, and the artwork is effective in conveying the outsized majesty of the old growth. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5466-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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A picture book combines the exuberance of children and the drama found in nature for a sly lesson on power-sharing. Henderson (Newborn, 1999, etc.) lands on the wide reaches of a windy beach where young Jim expansively flings wide his arms and claims “All this is mine!” So it seems until the wind blows in a gale so violent that it smashes objects and tears “through the dreams of people sleeping.” An eerie series of black-and-white paintings shows the white-capped waves breaking ever higher and crashing inland; these are so frightening that Jim cries out to his mother, “The sea! It’s coming!” Happily enough, Jim and his mother are able to run up the hill to a grandmother’s house where they weather the storm safely. The next time Jim speaks to the wind, on a much quieter beach, he whispers, “All this is yours.” Large type, appealing pastel illustrations, and a dose of proper perspective on humankind’s power over nature make this book a fine choice for story hours as well as nature collections. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7636-0904-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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