With just four selections, the sound track is a bit underpowered, but the whimsical subtext sets this apart (a centimeter or...

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CINDERELLA

To tinkly snatches of romantic music—triggered by a small detachable wand—a put-upon orphan and a prince meet the loves of their lives.

Readers are enlisted at the beginning to assist the fairy godmother by pulling the gold-foil–wrapped cardboard wand out of a niche in the front cover and at proper moments laying it down on designated areas of certain pages to cue magical high spots from coach to clinch. The retelling is a bland version of the classic tale in which Cinderella does all the chores even though her stepmother and stepsibs never even thank her (and in any case they drop out of sight abruptly, feet intact, once the glass slipper fits), and she goes on to spend her days “helping others and spreading kindness wherever she went.” It does take a rather contemporary twist at the end, though, as Cinderella and the prince become “the very best of friends” for several years before they actually marry, and they are an interracial couple (she white and he a man of color). The illustrations have a serigraphic, retro look, with a pink castle adding a whiff of Disney and a parade of vintage cars driving up to the ball providing a Jazz Age riff. On the other hand, Mander’s uncrowded group scenes at the ball and again at the end are decidedly mixed, with figures not only clad from a variety of eras, but showing a range of skin tones, mostly in brown. The batteries are replaceable.

With just four selections, the sound track is a bit underpowered, but the whimsical subtext sets this apart (a centimeter or so) from the common run. (Novelty/fairy tale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-166-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Lincoln Children's Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Confusing topical drift muddles this quick but creditable dip into Newtonian physics.

MATTER

PHYSICAL SCIENCE FOR KIDS

A first introduction to what matter is—and isn’t.

Setting off on a potentially confusing tangent at the outset, Diehn opens with a discourse on how we use the word “matter” in common speech—as in “What’s the matter?” or “That doesn’t matter.” Following a perfunctory segue she then launches into her actual subject with a simple but not simplistic definition (“Matter is anything that takes up space and can be weighed”). She continues with easy-to-follow explanations of how matter (even air) can be weighed, how it comes in the states of solid, liquid, gas, and plasma, and finally how light is not matter but something else. Companion volumes on Energy, Forces, and Waves offer overviews that are likewise lucid, albeit similarly muddied by strained and, in the end, irrelevant word usages. All four surveys include questions and simple activities for readers. Shululu illustrates all four with a cast of wide-eyed, cherry-nosed figures of varying skin colors and their floppy-eared dog in active poses and, usually, outdoor settings.

Confusing topical drift muddles this quick but creditable dip into Newtonian physics. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61930-642-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nomad Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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