Celebrating intellectual curiosity, this book invites young readers to quest for answers.

Scientists know a lot, but there is still so much more in the universe for a child to wonder about and learn.

A curious, round-eyed, brown-skinned child muses on the wealth of surprising discoveries scientists have made, citing fascinating examples such as sea stars’ tube feet, macaws’ tongue-bones, and emperor penguins’ highly social behavior. Looking closely at fossils, remotely into space, and microscopically at nerve cells’ communication, scientists know so much about this and distant worlds! But then the narrator, with notepad and magnifying glass, thinks of questions not yet answered: the why of humpback whales’ varied songs, the how of tree-root communication, the mystery of dinosaur languages and games—and, the biggest question of all, the titular one. Short, simple sentences are presented in a legible sans-serif font. The entrancing, clear-edged but lineless, warm, uncluttered illustrations include jungle and desert scenes, seascapes, animals, planets, dinosaurs, and neurons and will reach readers whether in laps or classrooms. A final page asks readers to search back through the pages for 10 tiny images and, like the entire book, enthusiastically endorses “investigating, inventing, or creating” as essential qualities for scientists. The adult scientists depicted are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Celebrating intellectual curiosity, this book invites young readers to quest for answers. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2023

ISBN: 9781771648615

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Greystone Kids

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023


A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014


A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories.

What does Annie want to be?

As career day approaches, Annie wants to keep her job choice secret until her family sees her presentation at school. Readers will figure it out, however, through the title and clues Tadgell incorporates into the illustrations. Family members make guesses about her ambitions that are tied to their own passions, although her brother watches as she completes her costume in a bedroom with a Mae Jemison poster, starry décor, and a telescope. There’s a celebratory mood at the culminating presentation, where Annie says she wants to “soar high through the air” like her basketball-playing mother, “explore faraway places” like her hiker dad, and “be brave and bold” like her baker grandmother (this feels forced, but oven mitts are part of her astronaut costume) so “the whole world will hear my exciting stories” like her reporter grandfather. Annie jumps off a chair to “BLAST OFF” in a small illustration superimposed on a larger picture depicting her floating in space with a reddish ground below. It’s unclear if Annie imagines this scene or if it’s her future-self exploring Mars, but either scenario fits the aspirational story. Backmatter provides further reading suggestions and information about the moon and four women astronauts, one of whom is Jemison. Annie and her family are all black.

A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88448-523-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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