Intermittent fog obscures introductory meteorology and climatology.

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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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity.

STARRY SKIES

LEARN ABOUT THE CONSTELLATIONS ABOVE US

Young earthlings turn starry skies into playscapes in this first look at constellations.

On a page first glimpsed through a big die-cut hole in the front cover, Chagollan promises that stars “tell a thousand stories.” She goes on to describe brief scenarios in which residents of Earth interact with 15 Northern Hemisphere constellations. These range from Benjamin’s battle with a fierce dragon beneath Draco to a trio of unnamed ducklings who use the Swan to “find their way home.” Six further starry clusters bearing only labels are crowded into the final spread. In illustrations composed of thin white lines on matte black backgrounds (the characters formed by the stars are glossy), Aye colors significant stars yellow, connects them with dots, and encloses them in outlines of mythological figures that are as simply drawn as the animals and humans (and mermaid) below. As a practical introduction, this has little to offer budding sky watchers beyond a limited set of constellations—two, the Big Dipper and the Summer Triangle, are not official constellations at all but classified as asterisms—that are inconsistently labeled in Latin or English or both. Despite a closing invitation to go out and “find these stars in the sky,” the book provides no sky maps or verbal guidelines that would make that actually possible.

A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-509-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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