The 230 photos—often-breathtaking, in-the-moment portraits—are accessed via pins on a world map, as a slide show or as a...

CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD

A photo gallery–as-app is light on features yet becomes a moving visual statement communicated through the faces of hundreds of kids from around the world.

The 230 photos—often-breathtaking, in-the-moment portraits—are accessed via pins on a world map, as a slide show or as a gallery with a simple horizontal bar as navigation. Each photo has a caption that can be accessed by tapping a word-balloon button. The one-line descriptions are light on detail, yet evocative. "Wearing his last meal as lipstick, a full child takes a break from dining and greets a visitor to his simple home in a riverside African village," reads a caption for a photo taken in Juffure, The Gambia. But it's the faces of the children themselves that are most compelling. Whether they appear to be bored or giddy, engaged in activity or posing for a foreigner's camera, their emotions are sometimes as clear as what the backdrops tell us about their living conditions. The cumulative effect gives readers (especially young ones) a small sense of the scale of the Earth and its many inhabitants. If there's anything missing, it's a cleverer way to browse the images than flipping through them one by one, pointing on a clunky map or rolling a too-tiny thumbnail bar. And, though the app is visually overstuffed, there's no sound at all. It's as if the kids all went eerily silent when even a few sound clips would have enhanced the app greatly.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Banzai Labs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Excellent for enriching vocabulary, developing creative thinking, and enhancing a love of nature.

WONDER WALKERS

Ever wonder what kids wonder about?

Two kids, likely siblings, take a “wonder walk” outside. They greet nature with awe and ask themselves (and, not so incidentally, readers) questions articulated in language that is spare and economic yet profound and beautifully poetic. Only wonderstruck children, confronting nature’s gorgeous mysteries, could express themselves so intimately, creatively, and originally. Youngsters reading/hearing this book on laps or in groups, and grown-ups, too, will be charmed, enlightened, and moved by these breathless queries. Ponder: “Is the sun the world’s light bulb?” “Are trees the sky’s legs?” “Is dirt the world’s skin?” “Is the wind the world breathing?” Occasionally, the walkers summarize their thoughts with a solemn exchange: “ ‘I wonder.’ / ‘Me too.’ ” At last, the exploratory journey culminates with nighttime, which evokes a lovely question of its own. The simple text is composed mostly of the duo’s questions; spreads feature one or two queries apiece. Each should be carefully read aloud to allow for serious listener consideration and response. At the book’s conclusion, children may want space to discuss, dictate, write, and/or illustrate their own questions/ideas about nature. Luminous ink-and-collage illustrations are lush and vivid, perfectly suiting the text. The pair are kids of color, one with long, straight, black hair and the other with brown curls. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 37.4% of actual size.)

Excellent for enriching vocabulary, developing creative thinking, and enhancing a love of nature. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-10964-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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