Flashy at first glance, routine at second and subsequent looks.


From the Information Graphics series , Vol. 1

With scattered exceptions, the trendy “infographics” approach stops at the title in this haphazard ramble past animal types and extremes.

The book is printed on stiff stock and features edge tabs bearing icons to denote each section’s subject—not always well-chosen ones: Dog faces mark both the chapter on dogs and one on animal senses in general. The coverage begins with Darwin and ends abruptly (sans index or other backmatter) with a highly select gallery of canine breeds. In between, it offers equally select surveys of animal habitats, physical characteristics, family life, defense mechanisms and other topics. The writing sometimes reads like a bad translation: “A hippo can extend its mouth to 180 degrees.” The snippets of text are placed around or within intensely hued images that are mostly solid, stylized animal silhouettes, but unlike the ingeniously designed graphics in Margaret Hynes and Andy Crisp’s Picture This! Animals (2014), here the art is seldom arranged or scaled to impart information in a visual way. Aside from, for instance, a toothbrush “graph” comparing the numbers of various creatures’ teeth or silhouettes running around a marked speed gauge, Blechman’s illustrations just place animals in decorative groupings or next to conventional lists and bar graphs.

Flashy at first glance, routine at second and subsequent looks. (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7122-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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It’s so annoying that Elle’s survivalist grandfather makes her do all these prepper drills—until she learns about the asteroid headed for Earth.

Elle’s widowed father loves his dad but can’t stand the way Grandpa Joe pulls Elle and her kid brothers into all his survivalist planning. Elle barely tolerates the surprise drills, the inspections of her bug-out bag, the insistence that she eat disgusting MREs. But one day, she comes upon a scary website in which a Harvard astrophysicist explains that an asteroid is going to hit the planet in the spring. Maybe all of Grandpa Joe’s training will come in handy after all! She enlists the help of her best (and only) friend, but Mack is the opposite of loner Elle, and he brings other students into their survival planning. With Mack, Elle finds herself leading the Hamilton Middle School Nature Club, teaching a few of her fellow students about water filters and heirloom seeds. But while Elle wants Mack laser-focused on the apocalypse and on her, he’s distracted by the swim team—and worse, by his possible transfer to the Conrad School for the Blind. Mack is both kind and adventurous, but it’s unfortunate the didactic descriptions of his assistive tools lack accuracy in this context. Elle and her family are white, Mack’s black, and their classmates are racially diverse. Watching these kids spiral into paranoia, fueled by a fraudulent internet tale of conspiracies, makes for compelling reading.

A page-turner. (author’s note, bibliography) (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6761-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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While the slow start and trappings of finance culture will deter some readers, those who are drawn in by Lindy’s passion and...


A seventh-grader plays the stock market.

Lindy isn’t ready for her math test, and coming down with mononucleosis is one way to get out of going to school. In the month that Lindy’s home sick, her father gives her $100 to play with on his stock-trading site. Though Lindy thinks of herself as “dense at math,” she is more than able to pick up the concepts when they have a practical use. Aided by the book Buying Stock for Dummies, Lindy immerses herself in the stock market. Her rate of return on her $100 is excellent, so it’s completely safe to dip into her parents’ capital, right? But the stock market is more volatile than Lindy realizes—and so are junior high friendships. While she’s been home focusing on the NASDAQ, her friends have formed new relationships without her. Lindy’s enthusiasm is infectious but sometimes impenetrable. The mathematical and functional aspects of selling stock are explained fairly clearly, but the social aspects of finance, from CNBC to the Wall Street Journal, from television analysts to certified financial advisors, lack explication.

While the slow start and trappings of finance culture will deter some readers, those who are drawn in by Lindy’s passion and the fun math puzzles will be rewarded by a startlingly suspenseful conclusion, with far more at stake than mere classroom drama . (Fiction. 11-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5255-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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