A buoyant tale of scientific enquiry fueled by a proper mix of curiosity and courage.

SCAMPERS THINKS LIKE A SCIENTIST

Is that new owl in the garden live or a fake? An intrepid field mouse methodically finds the answer.

When the garden where they love to socialize and chow down acquires a scary new guardian, the mice flee—all but Scampers, who wonders why the owl never moves…not when a rag-doll mouse is temptingly waved about, not when Scampers marches by as a one-mouse band, not even when clobbered by first an egg and then a rock flung from an “eggapult” constructed with help from faithful foil Nibbles. Just to be sure, Scampers hauls off to the nearest woodland to “try this stuff out on another owl,” which behaves very differently. No doubt about it: time to write up their findings (on a poster, with lots of glitter) for presentation to the field-mouse community (“So the vegetable garden owl is a fake owl!”) and lead a charge back to the land of plenty. But when Scampers turns around, only Nibbles has come along. “Well, sometimes a new discovery is so amazing that others need a little time to accept it.” Zechel doesn’t depict a feasible eggapult, but she gives her furry, bright-eyed investigators plenty of personality via anthropomorphic expressions and gestures. Allegra piles on the backmatter, recapping and explaining each step of Scampers’ research, adding info-bits about owls and field mice, and closing with STEM enhancement activities.

A buoyant tale of scientific enquiry fueled by a proper mix of curiosity and courage. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58469-642-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so...

TOUCH THE EARTH

From the Julian Lennon White Feather Flier Adventure series , Vol. 1

A pro bono Twinkie of a book invites readers to fly off in a magic plane to bring clean water to our planet’s oceans, deserts, and brown children.

Following a confusingly phrased suggestion beneath a soft-focus world map to “touch the Earth. Now touch where you live,” a shake of the volume transforms it into a plane with eyes and feathered wings that flies with the press of a flat, gray “button” painted onto the page. Pressing like buttons along the journey releases a gush of fresh water from the ground—and later, illogically, provides a filtration device that changes water “from yucky to clean”—for thirsty groups of smiling, brown-skinned people. At other stops, a tap on the button will “help irrigate the desert,” and touching floating bottles and other debris in the ocean supposedly makes it all disappear so the fish can return. The 20 children Coh places on a globe toward the end are varied of skin tone, but three of the four young saviors she plants in the flier’s cockpit as audience stand-ins are white. The closing poem isn’t so openly parochial, though it seldom rises above vague feel-good sentiments: “Love the Earth, the moon and sun. / All the children can be one.”

“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so easy to clean the place up and give everyone a drink? (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2083-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Cute and brave—gee, Rot’s spud-tacular!

ROT, THE BRAVEST IN THE WORLD!

A “scaredy-spud” puts on his brave face.

All “mutant potatoes” love mud. Mud is good for playing games, eating, and even sleeping. But few taters have more tender feelings toward muck than Rot. À la Pete the Cat, Rot celebrates mud in song: “Mud between my toes! / Mud in my nose! / Mud is GREAT / wherever it GOES!” When Rot’s big brother, Snot, tells Rot about the Squirm that lives “deep down in the mushy muck,” his love quickly turns to fear. But he doesn’t give up! Instead, Rot imagines himself in various disguises to work up courage. There’s “Super Spud” (a superhero), “Sir Super Rot, the Brave and Bold” (a superhero-knight), and even “Sir Super Rot the Pigtato” (a, um, superhero-knight-pig-potato). The disguises are one thing, but, deep down, is Rot really brave enough to face the Squirm? Readers wooed by Rot’s charm in Rot: The Cutest in the World (2017) will laugh out loud at this well-paced encore—and it’s not just because of the butt cracks. Clanton creates a winning dynamic, balancing Rot’s earnestness, witty dialogue, and an omniscient, slightly melodramatic narrator. The cartoon illustrations were created using watercolors, colored pencils, digital collage, and—brilliantly—potato stamps. Clanton’s reliance on earth tones makes for some clever, surprising page turns when the palette is broken.

Cute and brave—gee, Rot’s spud-tacular! (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6764-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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