A colorful kid’s-book supplement for reports, projects and science fairs.

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EARTH

A SHIPMATE'S GUIDE TO OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

Another eye-catching earth science book for kids by award-winning author and former teacher Simon (Coral Reefs, 2013, etc.).

Simon’s signature, vivid color photographs adorn this readable primary text, which begins by comparing the Earth to a spaceship on a long journey. As the ship’s inhabitants, we humans must “learn to use our supplies wisely and protect our planet carefully,” writes Simon. After the book briefly introduces readers to the planets in the solar system, it covers topics such as the Earth’s orbit, its main climate zones, the five layers of the atmosphere (troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere), the jet stream, and the oceans and continents. The book’s organization is a bit awkward, as there are no boldface headings or clear divisions of topics. However, there are additional notes about the photographs at the end of the book for curious readers. Tidbits of modern-day information sprinkled throughout the text should also pique kids’ interest; for example, according to the author, over 180 billion email messages are sent on the planet Earth each day. This book could also be used to teach children about diversity, as it includes facts about the populations of various continents; according to Simon, for example, 2 out of every 3 people on Earth live in Asia, in sharp contrast to Australia, where fewer than 1 out of 100 people live. Additionally, the kid-friendly tone is sure to leave a lasting impression; at one point, Simon describes the Earth as a “Goldilocks planet,” meaning it is neither too hot nor too cold, but “just right” for life to exist on it. He also adds a weather-themed tongue twister, which ends with the playful, memorable line: “We'll weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.”

A colorful kid’s-book supplement for reports, projects and science fairs.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 58

Publisher: StarWalk Kids Media

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2014

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A brisk, buffed-up finish threaded with inner and outer, not to mention sartorial, changes.

THE TOWER OF NERO

From the Trials of Apollo series , Vol. 5

In this tumultuous series closer, Apollo, transformed into a mortal teenager, takes on both a deified emperor in a luxurious Manhattan high-rise and an older adversary.

Lester/Apollo’s coast-to-coast quest reaches its climactic stage as, with help from both eager squads of fledgling demigods from Camp Half-Blood and reluctant allies from realms deep below New York, he invades the palatial lair of Emperor Nero—followed by a solo bout with another foe from a past struggle. Riordan lays on the transformation of the heedless, arrogant sun god to a repentant lover of his long-neglected semidivine offspring and of humanity in general, which has served as the series’ binding theme, thickly enough to have his humbled narrator even apologizing (twice!) to his underwear for having to change it periodically. Still, the author delivers a fast, action-driven plot with high stakes, lots of fighting, and occasional splashes of gore brightened by banter and silly bits, so readers aren’t likely to mind all the hand-wringing. He also leaves any real-life parallels to the slick, megalomaniacal, emotionally abusive Nero entirely up to readers to discern and dishes out just deserts all round, neatly tying up loose ends in a set of closing vignettes. The supporting cast is predominantly White, with passing mention of diverse representation.

A brisk, buffed-up finish threaded with inner and outer, not to mention sartorial, changes. (glossary) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4645-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2020

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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