A fresh, scientific look at one aspect of the incredible human body. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

POWER UP

Math and science enthusiasts, this one’s for you!

Fishman and Greenberg, the author and illustrator team of A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars (2017), take readers on a journey through the amazing human body, noting that a pinkie finger “has enough energy to light up one of the biggest cities in the world for an entire day.” This informational book explains how the body produces, expends, and recharges energy through such activities as eating, sleeping, and exercising. The author’s note at the end focuses not on what the characters have been doing throughout the book but on Einstein’s equation E=mc2. In child-friendly language, the note explains what an equation is, how Einstein used this one to solve tough problems, and how all of this relates to the body’s energy. While this book could effectively be used in school lessons about energy, kids likely study Einstein’s equation much later in school than this book’s target audience. Greenberg’s multicultural cast of characters models different aspects of the body’s use of energy, the primary character being a black girl with her hair in two puffballs. While most of the characters have strangely angular features, the stark color contrasts and interesting facts will keep readers engaged. Parents and kids alike will appreciate the book’s exhortation to stay curious.

A fresh, scientific look at one aspect of the incredible human body. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-245579-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to.

HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER

Pearl and her robot, Pascal, take their coding skills for a spin at the amusement park in this Girls Who Code picture book, a follow-up to How To Code a Sandcastle (2018).

The park has many rides to choose from, and Pearl has 10 tokens to last her the day. But her favorite ride, the Python roller coaster, looks busy. Pearl decides to do something else fun, using code concepts such as variables to keep track of the length of the line and her remaining tokens and a conditional statement to decide when to return to the Python. Throughout, computer science terms are defined crisply in the text and vividly illustrated in the pictures, which use images such as popcorn bags for variables and the Ferris wheel for loops (keeping track of ice cream flavors seems somewhat contrived). The backmatter explains these ideas more fully. Pascal’s too-literal interpretations of Pearl’s statements make for several amusing moments along the way. When Pearl runs short of tokens (a missed opportunity to talk about checking for more than one condition?), she’s undaunted by the disaster, taking readers on a fun hunt for a secret hidden password, in a nod to the importance of proper sequencing. Pearl has brown skin and black curls; others at the park have a variety of skin tones.

Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-29203-7

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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