An appealing model of preteen activism.

FOLLOW THE MOON HOME

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

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. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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. 29, 2018

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Informative, empowering, and fun.

ROX'S SECRET CODE

Girl power abounds in this book about coding that introduces young readers to the world of programming while offering them hands-on activities via a companion app.

In this title that was first introduced as a customizable, personalized print-on-demand product, Rox has a superpower. Using code, she programs toy robots that can do things like make broccoli disappear—or mischief. When Dad tells Rox to clean her room, she quickly thinks up a bot that will do it for her, writing code that instructs her bot to use artificial intelligence to sort objects by color and type. Though Rox knows that there’s a high potential for her creation to rebel, the perks outweigh any potential adverse effects. Rox’s robot has her room neat and tidy in no time—and then the entire home. Chorebot’s AI allows it to keep learning, and it seems Chorebot can do no wrong until the robot decides to rearrange the entire city (both buildings and people) by type, style, and gender. Chorebot goes “out of his artificial mind!” Rox must now stop her creation…without the assistance of the internet. The artwork, styled in the tradition of popular superhero series, is peppy and colorful, and it depicts Rox as an adorable black girl donning a black bomber jacket and a pink tutu. A companion app (not available for review) allows readers to create a bot of their own.

Informative, empowering, and fun. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-57687-899-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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