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FOLLOW THE MOON HOME

A TALE OF ONE IDEA, TWENTY KIDS, AND A HUNDRED SEA TURTLES

An appealing model of preteen activism.

A “lights out for loggerheads” campaign becomes a satisfying community-action project for Vivienne and her summer school classmates.

Environmental advocate Cousteau and acclaimed author Hopkinson team up to encourage young activists. New in her South Carolina town, Vivienne is drawn into the community through a summer school assignment. Challenged by their teacher, she and classmate Clementine discover a problem: lighting in beach houses disorients hatchling loggerhead turtles. As a group, the students research the issue, publicize it, enlist adult help, and suggest solutions. A community meeting is the culmination—until the magical night they watch hatchings find their ways from their nests in the sand to the ocean by the moonlight on the water. Gorgeously illustrated with watercolor and colored ink and pencils, this is a beautiful package. So’s paintings of both the natural and diverse human world add atmosphere, characterization, and informative depth. Vivienne’s early shyness is evident in her body language; Clementine is chunky (Clementine is blonde and white, while Vivienne has dark hair and slightly darker skin). Details include steps for a community-action project and examples of the students’ research, campaign publicity, and fundraising. Important information about loggerheads is woven into this story and its backmatter, but their use of light cues is oversimplified, and the creators (all from west coasts) have misplaced their setting crescent moon.

An appealing model of preteen activism. (authors’ notes, further info, resources) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1241-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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ADA TWIST AND THE PERILOUS PANTS

From the Questioneers series , Vol. 2

Adventure, humor, and smart, likable characters make for a winning chapter book.

Ada Twist’s incessant stream of questions leads to answers that help solve a neighborhood crisis.

Ada conducts experiments at home to answer questions such as, why does Mom’s coffee smell stronger than Dad’s coffee? Each answer leads to another question, another hypothesis, and another experiment, which is how she goes from collecting data on backyard birds for a citizen-science project to helping Rosie Revere figure out how to get her uncle Ned down from the sky, where his helium-filled “perilous pants” are keeping him afloat. The Questioneers—Rosie the engineer, Iggy Peck the architect, and Ada the scientist—work together, asking questions like scientists. Armed with knowledge (of molecules and air pressure, force and temperature) but more importantly, with curiosity, Ada works out a solution. Ada is a recognizable, three-dimensional girl in this delightfully silly chapter book: tirelessly curious and determined yet easily excited and still learning to express herself. If science concepts aren’t completely clear in this romp, relationships and emotions certainly are. In playful full- and half-page illustrations that break up the text, Ada is black with Afro-textured hair; Rosie and Iggy are white. A closing section on citizen science may inspire readers to get involved in science too; on the other hand, the “Ode to a Gas!” may just puzzle them. Other backmatter topics include the importance of bird study and the threat palm-oil use poses to rainforests.

Adventure, humor, and smart, likable characters make for a winning chapter book. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3422-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2018

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