Just right for both first-time visitors as well as fans of the city.

NY IS FOR NEW YORK

From the Paul Thurlby ABC City series

Noted artist Thurlby applies his creative sense of design to an alphabet of New York City.

Readers will be immediately struck by the artist’s distinctive style, which uses mixed media and digital techniques to represent the famous sights of the Big Apple. The flat dimensions and striking use of color fashion vintage-poster–like depictions for each iconic image. The marked diversity of the people depicted is anything but vintage, happily. From the American Museum of Natural History to the Bronx Zoo, none of the selected letter pairings, each represented on a double-page spread, is a stretch, which happens too often in themed ABC books. D for “Downtown Manhattan” illustrates Chinatown; the Empire State Building and “ice skating” at Rockefeller Center require 90-degree rotations for full appreciation; N is the New York Public Library; Q is for Queens; V is for “the Village”; X is for the “New York Stock EXchange”; and Y for Yankee Stadium, of course. Best of all is a Where’s Waldo–esque device in which King Kong himself appears in every scene, sometimes large or sometimes teeny. Sharp eyes will detect him in the crowd at Grand Central, enjoying the view of the Brooklyn Bridge, piloting a plane at JFK, and jogging Uptown outside the Guggenheim Museum. Naturally, he has his own page for the letter K.

Just right for both first-time visitors as well as fans of the city. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5465-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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