Once again, this team (Stephen Biesty's Cross-Sections: Castle, 1994, etc.) invite readers on a fabulous tour that leads from an ``exploded'' view of the human body (all anatomy, skin, clothes, and accessories clearly visible in systematic drawings in which the mustache hovers in front of skin, the skin hovers in front of muscle and bone, etc.), through the geology of the Grand Canyon, and up into the proposed US-Soviet space station. Each of the dozen full-color drawings, whether a two-page spread or an overleaf, is loaded with enough minute, engrossingly accurate detail to deserve repeated viewings. Hundreds of captions explain the construction and function of each of the structure's components: Readers learn not only which countries assembled the space station's various modules, but their separate purposes as well. With an elegance worthy of the best engineering, Biesty demonstrates how a windmill grinds grain into flour; how Hollywood film studios play with perspective in an effort to maximize floor space; and the elaborate system of hydraulics necessary to lift London's famous Tower Bridge. Most importantly, however, these drawings capture their subjects on a scale children will adore: The windmill has ten mice, the steam engine's workers carry their sandwiches underneath their hats, and astronauts on the space station use a zero-gee toilet. These amusing details add another dimension of realism and humanity to the work. A fun-filled ride and fact-packed frolic for the whole family. (index) (Picture book. 6+)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-7894-1024-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996

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Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay.


From the Tía Lola Stories series , Vol. 1

Renowned Latin American writer Alvarez has created another story about cultural identity, but this time the primary character is 11-year-old Miguel Guzmán. 

When Tía Lola arrives to help the family, Miguel and his hermana, Juanita, have just moved from New York City to Vermont with their recently divorced mother. The last thing Miguel wants, as he's trying to fit into a predominantly white community, is a flamboyant aunt who doesn't speak a word of English. Tía Lola, however, knows a language that defies words; she quickly charms and befriends all the neighbors. She can also cook exotic food, dance (anywhere, anytime), plan fun parties, and tell enchanting stories. Eventually, Tía Lola and the children swap English and Spanish ejercicios, but the true lesson is "mutual understanding." Peppered with Spanish words and phrases, Alvarez makes the reader as much a part of the "language" lessons as the characters. This story seamlessly weaves two culturaswhile letting each remain intact, just as Miguel is learning to do with his own life. Like all good stories, this one incorporates a lesson just subtle enough that readers will forget they're being taught, but in the end will understand themselves, and others, a little better, regardless of la lengua nativa—the mother tongue.

Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80215-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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