A suitably colorful introduction to the life of a person whose name readers may not know but whose invention they all use.

READ REVIEW

THE CRAYON MAN

THE TRUE STORY OF THE INVENTION OF CRAYOLA CRAYONS

Through persistent experimentation Edward Binney gave children a cheap and safe coloring medium.

In this chatty, engaging picture book, Biebow provides the historical context around the invention of Crayola crayons. The story covers the media predecessors (breakable, often poisonous artists’ crayons; clay) that were the basis for the Crayola and the trial-and-error process Binney undertook to create a safe, colorful product that children from diverse economic backgrounds could afford. Such visual cues as boldface type for the names of colors throughout the story aid readers in recognizing the colors that Binney developed and that they might encounter in their own crayon boxes. Biebow moves past the invention to recognize the impact this product has had on childhood worldwide. Salerno brings readers close to the story through his illustrations, right onto the lab table where Binney and his team (both impressively mustachioed men and women, all white) developed the crayon. What Jon Klassen achieves emotionally in his characters’ eyes, Salerno manages with eyebrows here. He uses crayon pencils for the bulk of the work; children's pictures in a couple of later spreads are done, appropriately enough, with Crayolas. A well-organized bibliography with both primary and secondary sources, including interviews with Binney’s great-granddaughter, is supplemented by text boxes throughout the book that offer additional informational snippets such as the composition of Crayola’s pigments.

A suitably colorful introduction to the life of a person whose name readers may not know but whose invention they all use. (factory snapshots, author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-86684-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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