SUPER SAND CASTLE SATURDAY

PLB 0-06-027613-4 This entry in the MathStart series explores the hazards of measuring in nonstandard units. Eager to win prizes from Larry the lifeguard for the tallest tower, longest wall, and deepest moat, Juan, Sarah, and Laura compare their sand castles; they discover that Sarah’s castle is three shovels tall while Juan’s is but two, Laura’s moat is one spoon deep while Juan’s is two, and Laura’s wall is five steps long to Sarah’s seven. However, as observant viewers will note, Sarah’s spoon is longer than Juan’s, her shovel and feet shorter. Wielding a tape measure, Larry explains why inches are more reliable units than spoons, etc. People and objects in Gorton’s simple air brushed cartoons stand out distinctly against the green ocean and sun-drenched sand, and lines of measurement are laid out for viewers to compare. With the small type activity notes at the end, this makes a pleasant, painless way for children (and dare we say adults?) to pick up some basic math methodology. For those who resist Larry’s strict notions, bring out Loreen Leedy’s blithe Measuring Penny (p. 270) for a more generous examination of nonstandard measurements. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027612-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1998

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THE FANTASTIC UNDERSEA LIFE OF JACQUES COUSTEAU

This second early biography of Cousteau in a year echoes Jennifer Berne’s Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau (2008), illustrated by Eric Puybaret, in offering visuals that are more fanciful than informational, but also complements it with a focus less on the early life of the explorer and eco-activist than on his later inventions and achievements. In full-bleed scenes that are often segmented and kaleidoscopic, Yaccarino sets his hook-nosed subject amid shoals of Impressionistic fish and other marine images, rendered in multiple layers of thinly applied, imaginatively colored paint. His customarily sharp, geometric lines take on the wavy translucence of undersea shapes with a little bit of help from the airbrush. Along with tracing Cousteau’s undersea career from his first, life-changing, pair of goggles and the later aqualung to his minisub Sea Flea, the author pays tribute to his revolutionary film and TV work, and his later efforts to call attention to the effects of pollution. Cousteau’s enduring fascination with the sea comes through clearly, and can’t help sparking similar feelings in readers. (chronology, source list) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-375-85573-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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