A sweet interplanetary message from a narrator who sounds for all the world like a younger version of the one in Markus...

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BIRTHDAY ON MARS!

Greetings from Curiosity, roving the red planet since 2012!

With a wave of its arm, Curiosity introduces itself and the barren Martian landscape (“No humans have ever been here before. Isn’t that cool?”), then, while sending a celebratory selfie back to friends on Earth, sings “Happy birthday to me”—a ditty it actually was programmed to hum, though just on the first anniversary of its landing. In his blocky painted illustrations, Ross sends the excitable rover (“Oops—I made a dust cloud! I guess I should slow down”) trundling through a Martian sunset while extolling the virtue for which it was named, then switches planetary settings to show some of Curiosity’s “billions of friends” (or a diverse crowd of them, at least) gathered in a science museum for the party. With its boxlike, six-wheeled body, single arm, and red-lensed camera on a movable stalk, the rover manages to project lots of personality. For readers who are still, well, curious, Schonfeld closes with a page of Mars and Mars rover facts, plus the news that a new rover will be on its way in the near future. With its diminutive trim, the book even recalls a birthday card.

A sweet interplanetary message from a narrator who sounds for all the world like a younger version of the one in Markus Motum’s more seriously detailed Curiosity (2018). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9122-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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JESUS IS RISEN!

AN EASTER POP-UP BOOK

Jesus pops up.

“It had been three days since Jesus died on a cross, and his friends were sad.” So Traini (The Life of Martin Luther, 2017) opens his ingenuously retold version of the first Easter. Beginning with two unnamed women clambering down a rocky hill to the graveyard, each of the seven tableaux features human figures with oversized eyes, light brown skin, and solemn or awed expressions posing in a sparsely decorated setting. The women hurry off at the behest of the angel lounging casually in a tomb bedecked with large crystals and fossil seashells to inform the “other disciples” of what’s happened. Along the way the women meet Jesus himself (“Greetings, my friends!”), who goes on to urge disciples “hiding inside a locked room” to touch his discreetly wounded hands. He later shares breakfast (“fish, of course!”) with Peter and others, then ascends from a mountaintop to heaven. Though the 3-D art and the flashes of irreverence set this sketchy rendition of the story apart from more conventional versions, the significance of the event never really comes clear…nor can it match for depth of feeling the stately likes of Jan Pienkowski’s Easter (1983). In the final scene Pentecostal flames appear over the heads of the disciples, leaving them endowed with the gift of tongues and eager to spread the “good news about Jesus!”

Skip. (Pop-up picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5064-3340-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

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There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece,...

HUMAN BODY

From the Scratch and Learn series

A very simple guide to (some) human anatomy, with scratch-off patches.

On sturdy board pages two cartoon children—one brown, one a sunburned pink—pose for cutaway views of select anatomical features. In most images certain parts, such as lungs and bladder on the “Organs” spread and both gluteus maximi on “Muscles,” are hidden beneath a black layer that can be removed with the flat end (or more slowly with the pointed one) of a wooden stylus housed in an attached bubble pack. With notable lack of consistency, the names of select organs or areas, with such child-centric additions as “A cut,” or “Poop,” are gathered in bulleted lists and/or placed as labels for arbitrarily chosen items in the pictures. It’s hard to envision younger readers getting more than momentary satisfaction from this, as they industriously scrape away and are invited to learn terms such as “Alveoli” and “Latissimus dorsi” that are, at best, minimally defined or described. Older ones in search of at least marginally systematic versions of the skeletal, sensory, nervous, and other (but not reproductive) systems will be even less satisfied. Even those alive to the extracurricular possibilities of a volume that contains, as one of the two warnings on the rear cover notes, a “functional sharp point,” will be disappointed.

There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece, preschool setting. (Informational novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-323-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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