Perfect for STEAM-infused reading and for grasping the value of serendipity.

PERKIN'S PERFECT PURPLE

HOW A BOY CREATED COLOR WITH CHEMISTRY

An introduction to the life and innovations of William Henry Perkin (1838-1907), an English chemist who tried to find a cure for malaria but instead produced “purple for the people.”

Brown and Dunn establish context by showing a cloth maker’s dismay when Queen Victoria demands a crown of purple velvet: The challenge of producing it was one of the reasons the color was reserved for the rich and royals. Phoenicians had extracted the mucus of mollusks while the English soaked fabric in bark and berries, then urine to make it colorfast. Enter Perkin, son of a London carpenter. His professor at the Royal College of Chemistry, searching for an antidote during a malaria epidemic, gave Perkin a formula to attempt synthesizing quinine from coal tar. While the experiment failed, Perkin refined the scientific methodology and documentation and created—in a last-minute do-over—a gorgeous new color. The narrative is brisk, alliterative, and full of well-chosen details. Children will be intrigued at the ingenious and sometimes gross aspects of dye-making. In compositions brimming with pattern, Sanna controls an orderly palette, allowing the new hue to pop. Bright droplets are a design element throughout, framing key words, emanating from Perkin’s attic laboratory, squirting off the page to celebrate his lasting impact. The conclusion and extraordinarily rich author’s note and period visuals emphasize the White Englishman’s contributions to the fashion, medical, and scientific communities.

Perfect for STEAM-infused reading and for grasping the value of serendipity. (bibliography, experiment) (Picture book/biography. 6-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-03284-1

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom.

MORE THAN PEACH

A Black girl’s simple observation propels her into activism.

Woodard, who launched the More Than Peach Project—which arranges for classrooms and children in need to receive kits that include art supplies and boxes of multicultural crayons (crayons in a variety of skin tones)—relates the incident that sparked her journey. As the book begins, she is dropped off at school and notices that her family’s skin tone differs from that of her classmates. While it is clear that she is one of a few children of color at school, that difference isn’t really felt until her friends start asking for the “skin-color” crayon when they mean peach. She’s bothered that no one else seems to notice that skin comes in many colors, so she devises a unique way of bringing everyone’s attention to that fact. With support from her family and her school, she encourages her fellow classmates to rethink their language and starts an initiative to ensure that everyone’s skin tone is represented in each crayon box. Appealing, realistic artwork depicts Woodard’s experiences, while endpapers feature More Than Peach crayon boxes and childlike illustrations of kids of different ethnicities doing various activities. The story is stirring and will motivate budding activists. (This book was reviewed digitally; the review has been updated for factual accuracy.)

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom. (note from Woodard, information on Woodard’s journey into activism, instructions on starting a drive) (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80927-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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Preposterous situations and farcical sound-alike sentences will elicit groans and giggles.

NO READING ALLOWED

THE WORST READ-ALOUD BOOK EVER

Homophones in versatile parallel sentences create absurd scenarios.

The pattern is simple but endlessly funny: Two sentences, each illustrated, sound the same but are differentiated by their use of homophones. On the verso of the opening spread a cartoon restaurant scene shows a diner lifting a plate of spaghetti and meatballs to a waiter who removes a dark hair from the plate of noodles: “The hair came forth.” (Both figures have brown skin.) Opposite, the scene shows a race with a tortoise at the finish line while a hare trails the tortoise, a snake, and a snail: “The hare came fourth.” The humorous line drawings feature an array of humans, animals, and monsters and provide support and context to the sentences, however bizarre they may seem. New vocabulary is constantly introduced, as is the idea that spelling and punctuation can alter meaning. Some pairings get quite sophisticated; others are rather forced. “The barred man looted the establishment. / The bard man luted the establishment” stretches the concept, paralleling barred with bard as adjectives and looted with luted as verbs. The former is an orange-jumpsuited White prisoner in a cell; the other, a brown-skinned musician strumming a lute for a racially diverse group of dancers. Poetic license may allow for luted, though the word lute is glaringly missing from the detailed glossary.

Preposterous situations and farcical sound-alike sentences will elicit groans and giggles. (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72820-659-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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