In the second story about these siblings, a tornado warning sends Ike, his parents, and younger sister Mem to the basement. When the all clear is given and everyone goes to bed, Ike is worried that with the TV turned off, they won’t know if a tornado is approaching. So he puts the portable TV in bed with him and stays up all night watching movies to be on the alert. The next two nights of tornado watches result in Ike falling asleep at school, sleeping through dinner, and his mother taking him to the doctor. On the fourth night, Ike conks out during his watch and, in fact, a tornado does hit, blowing the roof off his best friend’s house next door. He wakes up in the basement, where his parents, obviously on the alert, have taken the family again. An image of the moon as an eye, watching and waiting for Ike to go to sleep adds a nice child-like touch, but it’s hard to guess exactly what is intended here. Reassurance? Well, maybe, but a tornado isn’t quite so quiet an experience as this. Unfortunately, the pen-and-ink drawings from Alter, who also illustrated the first in the series (The Bird Shadow, 2001), are uninspired and add nothing to the story. The short episode format (no chapter headings) will appeal to the first-chapter set and the third in the series is scheduled for 2003. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2002

ISBN: 0-8234-1672-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2002


From the Ada Lace series , Vol. 1

The story feels a bit contrived, but Ada will be a welcome addition to the small circle of science-loving girls in the...

Using science and technology, third-grader Ada Lace kicks off her new series by solving a mystery even with her leg in a cast.

Temporarily housebound after a badly executed bungee jump, Ada uses binoculars to document the ecosystem of her new neighborhood in San Francisco. She records her observations in a field journal, a project that intrigues new friend Nina, who lives nearby. When they see that Ms. Reed’s dog, Marguerite, is missing, they leap to the conclusion that it has been stolen. Nina does the legwork and Ada provides the technology for their search for the dognapper. Story-crafting takes a back seat to scene-setting in this series kickoff that introduces the major players. As part of the series formula, science topics and gadgetry are integrated into the stories and further explained in a “Behind the Science” afterword. This installment incorporates drones, a wireless camera, gecko gloves, and the Turing test as well as the concept of an ecosystem. There are no ethnic indicators in the text, but the illustrations reveal that Ada, her family, and bratty neighbor Milton are white; Nina appears to be Southeast Asian; and Mr. Peebles, an inventor who lives nearby, is black.

The story feels a bit contrived, but Ada will be a welcome addition to the small circle of science-loving girls in the chapter-book world. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8599-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017


Miranda’s book counts the monsters gathering at a birthday party, while a simple rhyming text keeps the tally and surveys the action: “Seven starved monsters are licking the dishes./Eight blow out candles and make birthday wishes.” The counting proceeds to ten, then by tens to fifty, then gradually returns to one, which makes the monster’s mother, a purple pin-headed octopus, very happy. The book is surprisingly effective due to Powell’s artwork; the color has texture and density, as if it were poured onto the page, but the real attention-getter is the singularity of every monster attendee. They are highly individual and, therefore, eminently countable. As the numbers start crawling upward, it is both fun and a challenge to try to recognize monsters who have appeared in previous pages, or to attempt to stay focused when counting the swirling or bunched creatures. The story has glints of humor, and in combination with the illustrations is a grand addition to the counting shelf. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-201835-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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