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


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 solid introduction to fascinating artists, some familiar, others less so.


Contemporary and historical female artists are showcased for younger readers.

The artists’ names aren’t presented in A-to-Z order. The alphabetical arrangement actually identifies signature motifs (“D is for Dots” for Yayoi Kusama); preferred media (“I is for Ink” for Elizabeth Catlett); or cultural, natural, or personal motives underlying artworks (“N is for Nature” for Maya Lin). Various media are covered, such as painting, box assemblage, collage, photography, pottery, and sculpture. One artist named isn’t an individual but rather the Gee’s Bend Collective, “generations of African American women in Gee’s Bend, Alabama,” renowned for quilting artistry. Each artist and her or their work is introduced on a double-page spread that features succinct descriptions conveying much admiring, easily comprehensible information. Colorful illustrations include graphically simplified representations of the women at work or alongside examples of their art; the spreads provide ample space for readers to understand what the artists produced. Several women were alive when this volume was written; some died in the recent past or last century; two worked several hundred years ago, when female artists were rare. Commendably, the profiled artists are very diverse: African American, Latina, Native American, Asian, white, and multiethnic women are represented; this diversity is reflected in their work, as explained via texts and illustrations.

A solid introduction to fascinating artists, some familiar, others less so. (minibiographies, discussion questions, art suggestions) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10872-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A good introduction to the science of scent certain to hook reluctant scientists (and readers) with its yuck factor.



From the Gross Science series

More than you ever wanted to know about why stuff stinks.

Everybody smells—both transitively with their noses and intransitively due to the bacteria on their bodies. But what does the sense of smell do for us? If we smell smoke, as from a burning building, we get nervous. That keeps us safe. The same is true about noticing the foul odor of rotting meat. The meat itself doesn’t give off the odor—it’s the organisms living off the meat that make it smell unappetizing (except to vultures and other carrion eaters). Six million receptors on the olfactory epithelium in the human nose detect scent molecules in the air and transmit that information to the brain. Canadian science writer Kay goes on to explain the connection between scent and memory and how we know what outer space smells like (“a combination of schoolbus exhaust and incinerated hamburger,” according to astronauts). He explains the various reasons animals may benefit from smelling awful (and which ones smell the worst: the green wood hoopoe and the polecat). He tells readers why Limburger cheese smells like feet (they share the same microbe) and which animals are super sniffers (those vultures mentioned earlier can smell carrion from a great distance, and moles smell “in stereo”). All the cheeky stinky facts are accompanied by Shiell’s bright, cheerily gross cartoon illustrations, which depict humans of diverse races being offended and offending others.

A good introduction to the science of scent certain to hook reluctant scientists (and readers) with its yuck factor. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77138-382-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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