T IS FOR TUGBOAT

NAVIGATING THE SEAS FROM A TO Z

Along the lines of A Is For Astronaut (2006) and C Is For Caboose (2007), this nautical alphabet offers two to four relevant terms starting with each letter, from “Anchor” to “Zulu” (“A Scottish fishing boat”). Along with one-line definitions, the words are accompanied by illustrations that range from simple outline drawings to period prints or old photos. O, for instance, features a red “Ocean liner” steaming across the gray, wood-grain textured background, a black-and-white photograph of a bearded “Old Salt” framed in an oval of rope and a graphically slick color image of speedboats powered by “Outboard motors.” Though slang, official terms, sayings, expressions and ship-types are jumbled together, a spread of sailors’ knots for “K” and a closing cutaway of a generic sailing vessel, critical parts labeled, are highlights, and young would-be tars looking for a quick browse should be drawn in. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8118-6094-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008

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A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

TINY LITTLE ROCKET

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A quick but adventuresome paddle into a mysterious realm.

FIELD TRIP TO THE OCEAN DEEP

The ocean’s depths offer extra wonders to a child who is briefly left behind on a class trip.

In the wake of their Field Trip to the Moon (2019), a racially diverse group of students boards a submarine (yellow, but not that one) for a wordless journey to the ocean’s bottom. Donning pressure suits, the children follow their teacher past a swarm of bioluminescent squid, cluster around a black smoker, and pause at an old shipwreck before plodding back. One student, though, is too absorbed in taking pictures to catch the signal to depart and is soon alone amid ancient ruins—where a big, striped, friendly, finny creature who is more than willing to exchange selfies joins the child, but it hides away when the sub-bus swoops back into sight to pick up its stray. Though The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor (1994) carries a considerably richer informational load, in his easy-to-follow sequential panels Hare does accurately depict a spare assortment of benthic life and features, and he caps the outing with a labeled gallery of the errant student’s photos (including “Atlantis?” and “Pliosaur?”). The child is revealed at the end to be Black. Hare also adds cutaway views at the end of a diving suit and the sub. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 40% of actual size.)

A quick but adventuresome paddle into a mysterious realm. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4630-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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