A hot topic receives a tepid treatment.

READ REVIEW

CAN WE SHARE THE WORLD WITH TIGERS?

From the Wells of Knowledge Science Series series

Using threats to endangered Bengal tigers’ survival as a springboard, Wells teaches young readers about the many ways humans interfere with the natural world and its biodiversity.

Opening with a Bengal tigress and her cubs, Wells introduces into the mix a langur monkey that stops the tigress from walking into a poacher’s trap. The anthropomorphized quartet (the tiger plants a big kiss on the monkey's cheek—yeah, right) then travel through the book together, teaching readers about habitat destruction, pollution, overharvesting, invasive species, biodiversity and extinction. Words are defined in the text, in a glossary or in glaring yellow “Learning Circle[s]” that also sometimes provide factoids, but while many of the glossary words are all in caps, there are other words that also appear this way that are not defined in the back. Also, while the more scientific terminology is defined, other vocabulary is not as audience-friendly: excessive, sensitive, vegetation, profit, livestock, disrupted, emit, incurable. Not as strong as its predecessors in the Wells of Knowledge Science series, this is not as well-written or  -designed—the text is scattered across the spreads and often justified or otherwise confusingly spaced, making it difficult to follow. Too, there are a few pages that are vertically oriented. The pen-and-acrylic illustrations nicely convey the concepts using a mix of timelines, flowcharts and artwork, but the fact/fiction blend jars.

A hot topic receives a tepid treatment. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1055-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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