One of a flurry of semicentennial tributes, set at least a bit apart by its unusual point of view.

THE MOON'S FIRST FRIENDS

HOW THE MOON MET THE ASTRONAUTS FROM APOLLO 11

The Moon, lonely for so long, welcomes at last a pair of visitors from the planet below.

It’s a long wait—dinosaurs come and go, and likewise woolly mammoths; the pyramids rise; the first balloons and gliders appear; a chimp in a Mercury capsule waves from orbit—but at long last two spacecraft stacked atop a huge multistage rocket make the journey: “They’re actually coming!” The Moon, a light blue orb in Paganelli’s pastel-toned scenes with big, lashed eyes and pink cheeks, watches in delight, warmly welcomes the two astronauts who land, and gives them gifts of rocks and dust (they in turn leave a plaque and a brightly colored flag) when it’s time to go. “Come back anytime!” Hill neglects mention of the earlier and later Apollo visits but enhances her lunarcentric commemoration of Apollo 11 with a detailed if idiosyncratic account of that one and QR codes leading to actual sound clips of the countdown and Neil Armstrong’s first remark. Appended notes on the moon, NASA, spacesuits, and the Saturn V rocket also help to give the historic mission some background.

One of a flurry of semicentennial tributes, set at least a bit apart by its unusual point of view. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-14926-5680-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character

PEDRO, FIRST-GRADE HERO

From the Pedro series , Vol. 1

The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie’s friend and schoolmate.

Four short chapters—“Pedro Goes Buggy,” “Pedro’s Big Goal,” “Pedro’s Mystery Club,” and “Pedro For President”—highlight a Latino main character surrounded by a superbly diverse cast. At times unsure of himself, Pedro is extremely likable, for he wants to do his best and is a fair friend. He consistently comes out on top, even when his younger brother releases all the bugs he’s captured for a class assignment or when self-assured bully Roddy tries to unite opposition to Pedro’s female opponent (Katie Woo) in the race for first-grade class president. Using a third-person, past-tense narrative voice, Manushkin expands her repertoire by adding a hero comparable to EllRay Jakes. What is refreshing about the book is that for the most part, aside from Roddy’s gender-based bullying, the book overcomes boy-girl stereotypes: girls and boys play soccer, boys and girls run for president, girls and boys hunt for bugs, all setting a progressive standard for chapter books. With mixed-media illustrations featuring colorful bugs, soccer action, a mystery hunt, and a presidential campaign, Lyon’s attention to detail in color and facial expressions complements the story nicely.

This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character . (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0112-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Accessible, reassuring and hopeful.

THE INVISIBLE BOY

This endearing picture book about a timid boy who longs to belong has an agenda but delivers its message with great sensitivity.

Brian wants to join in but is overlooked, even ostracized, by his classmates. Readers first see him alone on the front endpapers, drawing in chalk on the ground. The school scenarios are uncomfortably familiar: High-maintenance children get the teacher’s attention; team captains choose kickball players by popularity and athletic ability; chatter about birthday parties indicates they are not inclusive events. Tender illustrations rendered in glowing hues capture Brian’s isolation deftly; compared to the others and his surroundings, he appears in black and white. What saves Brian is his creativity. As he draws, Brian imagines amazing stories, including a poignant one about a superhero with the power to make friends. When a new boy takes some ribbing, it is Brian who leaves an illustrated note to make him feel better. The boy does not forget this gesture. It only takes one person noticing Brian for the others to see his talents have value; that he has something to contribute. Brian’s colors pop. In the closing endpapers, Brian’s classmates are spread around him on the ground, “wearing” his chalk-drawn wings and capes. Use this to start a discussion: The author includes suggested questions and recommended reading lists for adults and children.

Accessible, reassuring and hopeful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-582-46450-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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