STEPHEN BIESTY'S INCREDIBLE EXPLOSIONS

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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MORNING GIRL

Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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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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