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BLUE FLOATS AWAY

A splendid springboard to both STEM and art activities.

The water cycle gets the anthropomorphic treatment.

When Little Blue breaks off from his parents—a single iceberg with two heads—he’s swept away by the surrounding waves. Unsure if he’ll ever return, Blue drifts farther and farther away, witnessing snow and eventually finding companionship: fish, the moon, and boats, which help him learn about winds and currents. But Blue discovers he’s changing. As the sky warms, he grows ever smaller until he melts into the surrounding water; unable to help him, his friends leave. Then Blue evaporates, condenses, and becomes a cloud. In the sky, he meets new friends who help orient him toward home; on the way, Blue changes again, bringing about a happy reunion. This tale is told in easily comprehensible terms for the youngest readers and listeners. Blue is an accessible, sweet character who brings emotional depth to an important science concept. Dazzling illustrations, created with cut paper, colored pencil, and white ink, will hold kids’ rapt attention while they hear, wide-eyed, about Blue’s destiny. Illustrations aptly feature shades of vivid blues, but eye-popping pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, and purples also emblazon these pages. Blue and his parents are expressive even though their faces are depicted merely with light-blue dots. An author’s note explains the water cycle and climate change, and it offers tips to protect the planet. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 48.7% of actual size.)

A splendid springboard to both STEM and art activities. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4423-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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DIGGERSAURS

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their...

Less ambitious than Chris Gall’s widely known Dinotrux (2009) and sequels, this British import systematically relegates each dinosaur/construction-equipment hybrid to its most logical job.

The title figures are introduced as bigger than both diggers and dinosaurs, and rhyming text and two construction-helmeted kids show just what these creatures are capable of. Each diggersaur has a specific job to do and a distinct sound effect. The dozersaurus moves rocks with a “SCRAAAAPE!!!” while the rollersaurus flattens lumps with a cheery “TOOT TOOT!!” Each diggersaur is numbered, with 12 in all, allowing this to be a counting book on the sly. As the diggersaurs (not all of which dig) perform jobs that regular construction equipment can do, albeit on a larger scale, there is no particular reason why any of them should have dinosaurlike looks other than just ’cause. Peppy computer art tries valiantly to attract attention away from the singularly unoriginal text. “Diggersaurs dig with bites so BIG, / each SCOOP creates a crater. // They’re TOUGH and STRONG / with necks so long— / they’re super EXCAVATORS!” Far more interesting are the two human characters, a white girl and a black boy, that flit about the pictures offering commentary and action. Much of the fun of the book can be found in trying to spot them on every two-page spread.

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their dino/construction kicks. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4779-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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