Fills the bill for small-group educational settings, but its audience is limited.


From the Word Adventures: Punctuation series

Dahl and Garbutt launch a punctuation series with this look at an essential mark: the period.

A period clad in a hard hat introduces readers to its job, though other periods also interject their two cents in dialogue bubbles. Dahl emphasizes the sentence-ending job of a period, devoting a few pages to its use in abbreviations. Garbutt poses the roly-poly periods, who sport stick arms and legs and expressive faces, in humorous situations. For instance, they are menaced by a threatening run-on–sentence tsunami or exhausted when a bunch of text doesn’t offer a place to stop and take a breath. The pink, purple, and blue palette gives the book a retro feel; text that is not a part of the story plays a role in providing readers with examples. Though diligent and not without a sense of fun, the book is not a total success. Small but vital details in the pictures make this difficult to share with large groups or entire classes, limiting its usefulness, and while some parts are a bit funny, it’s not likely kids will choose this on their own. Backmatter includes a summary of the period’s uses, a glossary, scant lists of resources for further information, and three critical thinking questions. Publishing simultaneously are Commas Say “Take a Break”, Exclamation Points Say “Wow!”, and Question Marks Say “What?”.

Fills the bill for small-group educational settings, but its audience is limited. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5158-4054-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Prospective younger visitors can do better than this bland mush.


A scan of landmarks, neighborhoods, food, and other attractions in the Big Apple.

Perfunctory efforts to give this tour at least a pretense of geographic or thematic unity only add to its higgledy-piggledy character. Arrhenius (City, 2018, etc.) opens with a full-page view of the Brooklyn Bridge soaring over an otherwise-unidentifiable cityscape opposite a jumble of eight smaller images that are, for all that one is labeled “Brooklyn Academy of Music” and another “Coney Island,” are likewise so stylized as to look generic. From there, in the same one-topic-per-spread format, it’s on to Manhattan uptown and down for “Rockefeller Center,” “Shopping,” and other random bites. The “Harlem” spread features a fire hydrant, a mailbox, and the (actually distant) Cloisters museum, for instance, and a glance into “Queens” offers glimpses of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a “Greek restaurant,” a “Mexican restaurant,” and “marathon runners.” The large trim size and aesthetic mimic M. Sasek’s perennial This Is New York (1960, revised edition 2003) while adding much-needed updates with both more diverse arrays of dress and skin hues for the stylized human figures as well as the addition of sites such as the Stonewall Inn, the 9/11 memorial, and the Fearless Girl statue.

Prospective younger visitors can do better than this bland mush. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0990-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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For young architects and kids interested in learning about the world.


An Asian boy on a skateboard describes a variety of domiciles.

Inside the contemporary house the child’s family (also Asian) lives in, family members are seen eating, sleeping, studying, watching TV (with retro rabbit ears), and talking on a wall phone, a mixture of details that may evoke the childhood of the author or illustrator. The narrator then takes off in an old-fashioned plane to describe houses in Thailand, Togo, Mongolia, Russia, and Greenland. Exteriors and interiors of the five houses appear in double-page spreads with explanatory text (in a small font) about materials, styles, and construction details embedded within the illustrations; each includes a family and its appropriate animals. The main text (in a large font) is simple and sometimes-awkward: “There are houses wherever people live. Even though houses have different appearances in every country, each one is someone’s precious home.” The explanatory text is a little more advanced and generally flows better. The choice of unusual houses, especially the felt gers of Mongolia and the clay houses of Togo, offers young readers a chance to explore aspects of everyday life in several countries. Refreshingly, the book takes care to emphasize that the Inuit of Greenland live in “wooden or brick houses,” and that igloos are temporary shelters used on hunting trips. The naïve illustrative style is eye-catching and friendly, and the photos in the back endpapers are a useful addition.

For young architects and kids interested in learning about the world. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-939248-19-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: TanTan

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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