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A tasty treat that’s informative to boot.

The tale of a real-life Willy Wonka who brought milk chocolate to the masses.

The eponymous chocolatier’s life begins with gusto, as he is seen peering mournfully at a window full of sweet treats. Born to a lower-income family, “Milton Hershey probably never tasted chocolate as a child.” It was working with confections and learning to make ice cream, lollipops, and taffy that turned him on to the idea of candy as a career. Unfortunately, his businesses flopped three times in a row, leading him to the enterprising choice of trying his hand with caramels. That venture succeeded, but after witnessing German chocolate-making machines at the Chicago’s World’s Fair, he was hooked. “The caramel business is a fad. But chocolate is something we will always have.” Even so, the book shows Hershey’s repeated failures, experiments, tests, trials, and, finally, success. His philanthropic pursuits, such as establishing a school for orphaned boys, are touched upon at the end. What sticks out, however, is the sheer amount of trying and failing that led to his ultimate triumph. Salerno, no stranger to biographical portraits of the past, makes the book as visually sweet and delicious as a chocolate bar itself. While it is nearly impossible to write a biography of Hershey without sounding like an advertisement, this particular icon’s tale is already a familiar name to most. Background characters are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A tasty treat that’s informative to boot. (source notes, photographs, bibliography, further resources, timeline) (Picture-book biography. 4-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-57875-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude.

A deceptively simple, visually appealing, comprehensive explanation of volcanoes.

Gibbons packs an impressive number of facts into this browsable nonfiction picture book. The text begins with the awe of a volcanic eruption: “The ground begins to rumble…ash, hot lava and rock, and gases shoot up into the air.” Diagrams of the Earth’s structural layers—inner and outer core, mantle, and crust—undergird a discussion about why volcanoes occur. Simple maps of the Earth’s seven major tectonic plates show where volcanoes are likeliest to develop. Other spreads with bright, clearly labeled illustrations cover intriguing subtopics: four types of volcanoes and how they erupt; underwater volcanoes; well-known volcanoes and historic volcanic eruptions around the world; how to be safe in the vicinity of a volcano; and the work of scientists studying volcanoes and helping to predict eruptions. A page of eight facts about volcanoes wraps things up. The straightforward, concise prose will be easy for young readers to follow. As always, Gibbons manages to present a great deal of information in a compact form.

Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4569-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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