A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity.

STARRY SKIES

LEARN ABOUT THE CONSTELLATIONS ABOVE US

Young earthlings turn starry skies into playscapes in this first look at constellations.

On a page first glimpsed through a big die-cut hole in the front cover, Chagollan promises that stars “tell a thousand stories.” She goes on to describe brief scenarios in which residents of Earth interact with 15 Northern Hemisphere constellations. These range from Benjamin’s battle with a fierce dragon beneath Draco to a trio of unnamed ducklings who use the Swan to “find their way home.” Six further starry clusters bearing only labels are crowded into the final spread. In illustrations composed of thin white lines on matte black backgrounds (the characters formed by the stars are glossy), Aye colors significant stars yellow, connects them with dots, and encloses them in outlines of mythological figures that are as simply drawn as the animals and humans (and mermaid) below. As a practical introduction, this has little to offer budding sky watchers beyond a limited set of constellations—two, the Big Dipper and the Summer Triangle, are not official constellations at all but classified as asterisms—that are inconsistently labeled in Latin or English or both. Despite a closing invitation to go out and “find these stars in the sky,” the book provides no sky maps or verbal guidelines that would make that actually possible.

A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-509-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Ephemeral, though the interactive feature will likely prompt one or two voyages before the rocket flies off into oblivion.

ROCKET

A JOURNEY THROUGH THE PAGES BOOK

A toy rocket propelled along a winding slot invites young astronauts to sample the wonders of outer space.

As in Vago and Rockefeller’s Train (2016), it’s all about the gimmick: a continuous slot cut into the heavy board pages that allows the small plastic vehicle (a retro-style rocket ship, here) to be pushed or pulled across each scene up to the edge and then around the edge to the next opening. Illustrating the generic rhyme (“Stars spin around in a cosmic race / Exploring the mysteries of outer space”), Rockefeller fills the starry firmament with flashes of light as the rocket soars past a crowd of glowing planets, winds its way through a thick field of “rocks,” pursues a comet, navigates a twinkling nebula, then swoops around a supernova to a die-cut hole that leads back to the first spread. The rocket is reasonably secure in its slot, but it can be reinserted easily enough should it fall (or, more likely, be pulled) out. The publisher suggests an age range of 4 through 8, likely in acknowledgment of the potential choking hazard the rocket ship poses, but the brevity and blandness of the text are unlikely to appeal to most in that range. Aside from a group of tiny figures watching the initial liftoff there are no people in the pictures.

Ephemeral, though the interactive feature will likely prompt one or two voyages before the rocket flies off into oblivion. (Novelty board book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0113-7

Page Count: 15

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A good-enough gateway to more detailed texts but not on par with earlier works. (Graphic informational early reader. 4-6)

ANTS DON'T WEAR PANTS!

From the Giggle and Learn series

Ants are always moving, as this comic’s insect inhabitants collectively proclaim, and McCloskey’s fast-paced narrative stays true to this assertion.

Two children on a playground shrink to investigate an anthill, cursorily revealing myriad ant facts. Ant anatomy, the life cycle of an ant and a colony, the structure and hierarchy of the colony, and an exploration of the four ant senses (touch, smell, hearing, and taste) are covered in one- to two-page spreads, revealing some interesting tidbits of information (e.g., ants hear with their legs). The second half of the anthill tour provides some detail on various types of ant species, such as leaf-cutter ants, trap-jaw ants, and exploding ants. An amusing (and incomplete) list titled “What Ants Eat” is followed by a superfluous reintroduction of the children, again child-sized, which closes the volume. The book’s best feature is its illustrations. Painted on recycled grocery bags, the ants are detailed and expressive, making the children (one white-presenting and one black-) seem static in comparison, an impression exacerbated by the clumsy dialogue passing between the two. The facts fare better, although some spreads feel a bit crowded and organization is loose. The brevity of the information revealed may inspire independent research in older readers, which has the potential to yield some fascinating results. Somewhat disappointingly, the title has no bearing whatsoever on the text.

A good-enough gateway to more detailed texts but not on par with earlier works. (Graphic informational early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-943145-45-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more