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ROBOTS SLITHER

Robots these days not only slither—they roll, crawl, fly in space, and “flick their tails” to “dive as deep as whales”—not to mention work in factories, fight fires, bark, meow, and even recognize facial expressions: “Look at what these robots do—smile at them, they’ll smile at you!” The authors back up each rhymed claim with a specific example from the present or near future, including a slithering “snakebot,” the deep-sea Odyssey II, and the lowly grass-clipping Robomower. Gorton mixes scenes of smooth-bodied people and machines with highly simplified schematics. It hardly seems like science, but it is, as well as a salutary reminder for younger moviegoers that real robots have better things to do than turn into red-eyed, rampaging killers. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-23774-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2004

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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WATER

``Water is dew. Water is ice and snow.'' No matter what form it takes, seldom has plain old water appeared so colorful as in this rainbow-hued look at rain, dew, snowflakes, clouds, rivers, floods, and seas. Asch celebrates water's many forms with a succinct text and lush paintings done in mostly in softly muted watercolors of aqua, green, rose, blue, and yellow. They look as if they were created with a wet-on-wet technique that makes every hue lightly bleed into its neighbor. Water appears as ribbons of color, one sliding into the other, while objects that are not (in readers' minds) specifically water-like—trees, rocks, roots—are similarly colored. Perhaps the author intends to show water is everything and everything is water, but the concept is not fully realized for this age group. The whole is charming, but more successful as art than science. Though catalogued as nonfiction, this title will be better off in the picture book section. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-15-200189-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995

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