A fine, informative read that may spur young readers to pursue more words unfamiliar to them.

READ REVIEW

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORD

Learn about words such as “pålegg” and “pochemuchka” in this handy assortment of words from around the world.

What makes a word untranslatable? Per Edwards, sometimes one-to-one translations simply don’t exist. Often, however, untranslatable words are “tied to a specific way of life,” naming certain moods and experiences inseparable from their cultures. For example, the Swedish “gökotta” describes an early morning full of singing birds, depicted in Uribe’s lush artwork as a person standing amid trees bathed in morning light. The text, meanwhile, presents a smattering of factoids about Sweden and Swedish culture (“forests cover 69% of the country”), offering some much-needed context. Next up is “verschlimmbesserung,” a German word expressing “a supposed improvement that makes things worse.” The author delivers some comical examples to explain it; in the illustration, a child “improves” on a portrait as a shocked adult watches in dismay. Each double-page spread follows this pattern. A word rests prominently on the page, with some text to sketch its origins or context, while the splendid pictures depict people from around the world. It’s a long and overstuffed collection, containing words that range from humorous (“friolero,” Spanish: “someone who is always cold”) to poignant (“hiraeth,” Welsh: “nostalgic longing for a homeland or past”). The included pronunciation guide gives tips aimed at a general English-reading audience, but a lack of sources for further reading obscures and limits the book’s worldly scope.

A fine, informative read that may spur young readers to pursue more words unfamiliar to them. (Informational picture book. 5-adult)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-714-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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So clear that just about anyone can follow these instructions and succeed.

THE LEGO ANIMATION BOOK

Aspiring Lego stop-motion filmmakers need look no further: this is the book that will launch your career…or at least give you a good beginning.

The first chapter presents the basics in such a way that by the end of those 12 pages readers will have successfully created their first film, satisfying their desire to get right to work. The remaining eight chapters go into more detail on such topics as animating minifigures, building sets, needed equipment, the creative process, digital effects, and post-production. Minifigures of the authors themselves, complete with cartoon speech bubbles, give readers a personal view of each man’s process (they differ quite a bit), and the film The Magic Picnic, referenced throughout and available on the book’s website, incorporates all the techniques discussed so readers can see them in action. Film stills, photos of sets and minifigures, screen shots, and even building instructions round out the text and provide clear examples for readers. One of the book’s biggest strengths is presenting lots of different options (including free and inexpensive ones!) for equipment, emphasizing that even the best equipment can’t make up for a poor story or poor technique.

So clear that just about anyone can follow these instructions and succeed. (index) (Nonfiction. 6-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59327-741-3

Page Count: 219

Publisher: No Starch Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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