A magical tour of the natural wonders of the African continent tied with a celebration of the cultural foundations of...

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THE AFRICAN ORCHESTRA

In simple and magical verse, Hartmann transports readers to the beautiful landscapes of Africa with a celebration of African music and instruments and the accompanying splendid natural sounds that birthed them.

Soft mixed-media illustrations with a strong emphasis on watercolors provide the backdrop for this celebration of African cultural contributions and the natural wonders that offered their inspiration. Hartmann eloquently writes, “In the beginning, when all things began, / these were the sounds which were music to man,” reminding readers of the long history of Africa as the motherland for all human beings. Featured in the onomatopoeic orchestra are the clicking of crickets, the crackle of fire, the “cr-i-sshh” of seedpod rattles, the “hummmm” of honeybees, and the “rumble” and “boo-oom” of the hooved animals of the grassland. Birds, frogs, and zebras are found along with choruses of traditionally dressed African men and women. “Through African nights and African days,” Hartmann emphasizes, “THIS is the music that the orchestra plays!” With its onomatopoeia, it’s a natural for participatory read-alouds, perhaps paired with Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin, by Lloyd Moss and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman (1995), and similar musical outings.

A magical tour of the natural wonders of the African continent tied with a celebration of the cultural foundations of African people who mined these sounds to create beautiful music . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-56656-048-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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