Intermittent fog obscures introductory meteorology and climatology.

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WHAT'S THE WEATHER?

Full-color photographs accompany large-print text about weather and climate change.

As with Rotner’s other books, the layout and photography will draw viewers in. However, the diverse children in the photos lack the spontaneity of previous titles, too often looking like posed models rather than ordinary children experiencing different kinds of weather. There are some striking photographs of cloud formations and other phenomena (many from stock sources). The text vacillates, offering in turn simplistic two- or three-word statements regarding weather, well-formulated compound sentences with easily digested information, and complex, clumsy sentences such as: “It snows when the temperature is low and clouds get heavy and fill with drops of water that freeze and fall to the ground.” It is also unfortunate that, after mentioning that seasonal changes are dependent on “where you live,” the text launches into sentences that describe specifically the seasons in temperate climates—without specifying that this is the case. This is at least as important as the later introduction of the North and South poles or the word “meteorologist.” After giving some basic facts about such things as the difference between sleet and hail, there is a rudimentary explanation of global warming and climate change. Credit is due for including this. However, both in this section and earlier in the book, there are awkward sentences that almost defy meaning. In short, neither text nor art measures up to, for example, Hello Summer! (2019) and its seasonal companions.

Intermittent fog obscures introductory meteorology and climatology. (glossary, note from climatologist) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4349-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this.

ABCS OF ART

From “Apple” to “Zebra,” an alphabet of images drawn from museum paintings.

In an exhibition that recalls similar, if less parochial, ABCs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (My First ABC, 2009) and several other institutions, Hahn presents a Eurocentric selection of paintings or details to illustrate for each letter a common item or animal—all printed with reasonable clarity and captioned with identifying names, titles, and dates. She then proceeds to saddle each with an inane question (“What sounds do you think this cat is making?” “Where can you find ice?”) and a clumsily written couplet that unnecessarily repeats the artist’s name: “Flowers are plants that blossom and bloom. / Frédéric Bazille painted them filling up this room!” She also sometimes contradicts the visuals, claiming that the horses in a Franz Marc painting entitled “Two Horses, 1912” are ponies, apparently to populate the P page. Moreover, her “X” is an actual X-ray of a Jean-Honoré Fragonard, showing that the artist repainted his subject’s face…interesting but not quite in keeping with the familiar subjects chosen for the other letters.

Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4938-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.

BIGGER WORDS FOR LITTLE GENIUSES

More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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