A palatable mix of education and entertainment for kids.

The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities

In this debut children’s book by a certified health coach, four young residents of an alien planet discover that they’re destined to develop nutrition-based superpowers.

In what’s clearly intended to be the first of a series of adventures, Marquez introduces young readers to a “small and enchanted” plant-based world and its inhabitants. The Rootlet kids—Brocc, Carrotina, Kaley, and Cornelius—were “just tiny little sprouts” on Planet Planted when they were plucked from the ground by wise Yammy Grammy and her eccentric friend Mr. Fungo Fungi, the owner of the popular Plantasyland amusement park. The adventuresome Rootlets and their dog, Basil, prepare to celebrate Earthrise, a “once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Planet Earth” through Brocc’s “Onion SkySearcher XT8 telescope.” Just before the big event, the Rootlets are surprised to learn that Earth’s appearance is the harbinger of their individual “super magical powers,” or “Rootabilities.” As the unsubtle (but not preachy) tale unfolds, the Rootlets try to imagine what powers they might have (“They started by reading up on all sorts of powers….But the spells wouldn’t cast, the broomsticks wouldn’t fly”). Carrotina is the first to discover hers: keen eyesight. Soon the other Rootlets learn what they can do: Kaley’s skin glows, Cornelius’ muscles are strong, and Brocc’s brain is powerful. Yammy cautions that their Rootabilities are just “newly sprouting” and that it will take time to learn how to use them—but they should always use them for good. Here, the author lightly models such concepts as friendship and teamwork. Overall, Marquez’s intent is obvious: to encourage kids to view healthy eating in a positive light. The book’s target audience will key into its health-conscious tone, and readers should find it easy to relate to the veggie-centric framework. Along the way, Russnak’s colorful, animation-style illustrations entertainingly realize the alien world. The ending promises further adventures to come.

A palatable mix of education and entertainment for kids.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0990721604

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Rootlets

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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MORNING GIRL

Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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THE NAME JAR

Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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