GROWING PATTERNS

In nature, the number series called Fibonacci numbers (1,1,2,3,5,8,13...) often appears in the arrangement of petals or spiral patterns in plants and animals. This math-and-science title is another beautiful photo-essay by the creators of Wolfsnail (2008). A spare, simple text introduces the idea that plants carry genetic instructions for their development, often including a mathematical pattern. Readers are engaged in the process of discovering the pattern by the repeated question, “Can you count…?” Beginning with a tiny photo of a seed followed by an equally tiny single-petal flower and then going on with increasingly larger photographs, the design reinforces the concepts of the series and a logarithmic spiral. Spirals in pine cones and pineapples are artificially colored to accentuate the pattern. Pointing out that not all plants and animals exhibit this arrangement, the author concludes by inviting readers to take a closer look outside. The backmatter makes clear that the nautilus-shell curve shown is not quite a golden spiral. This clear demonstration of complex ideas will be welcomed in elementary classrooms. (more about Fibonacci numbers, glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-752-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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