Brainstorming—a book that ought to launch a thousand robots.

RALPH MASIELLO'S ROBOT DRAWING BOOK

Masiello elegantly and joyfully taps into a thankfully enduring artistic tradition: the step-by-step technique that walks readers by hand through the creation of an image on paper.

Just as he has done previously for dinosaurs, dragons and bugs (Ralph Masiello's Dragon Drawing Book, 2007, etc.), here he guides young artists in the creation of robots—“ ’bots,” in the vernacular, as in “Squarehead Thinbot,” “Sparky Springbot” and “Zoidbot.” The artist starts by introducing readers to lines and shapes—nothing is taken for granted—from which can be drawn an elemental robot. He then provides a serious handful of “spare parts,” which can be used to add detail to readers’ creations. The spare-part section is good for sparking the imagination, but the best sparks are thrown by the finished products, which are cool in their radical colors and otherworldliness but not daunting (even if readers are not likely to attain his level of gradients and shadings). Robots are by nature somewhat scary, with their dead, sharklike eyes and sharp edges, and Masiello keeps that spooky quality. But he also knows how to invest them with humor: witness the “Bakerbot,” with a muffin cooking in its belly.

Brainstorming—a book that ought to launch a thousand robots. (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-57091-535-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Another win for Judy and her friends.

JUDY MOODY, BOOK QUIZ WHIZ

From the Judy Moody series , Vol. 15

Determination and hard work prepare Judy Moody as she tests her knowledge of book trivia in a battle of the books.

Judy, little brother Stink, and some familiar classmates from their second and third grade classes are the Virginia Dare School Bookworms, the book quiz champions who will be representing the school in the First Ever Book Quiz Blowout at the Starlight Lanes Bowling Alley. Nervous about their competition—Braintree Academy’s Bloodsucking Fake-Moustache Defenders and their star player, Mighty Fantaskey—the team is taking every possible moment to read: on the bus, during karate class, and even at the dinner table. Stink makes a cape out of scribbled-on sticky notes on the books he’s read, and Judy tries her hand at speed-reading. Enthusiasm for reading is never lost even as the children prepare for the contest. A diverse gathering of familiar titles is referenced throughout, matching this series’ reading level (all titles mentioned are compiled in the backmatter). Building excitement propels the story up through the competition to an ultimately satisfying ending. Reynolds’ well-placed watercolor, tea, and ink illustrations break up text, allowing necessary breaks for bridging readers. Aside from teacher and coach Mr. Todd, who is black, and Mighty Fantaskey, who seems to be a child of color, all characters appear white.

Another win for Judy and her friends. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0484-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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