In celebration of one of New York City’s vanished glories, Low recreates in words and pictures the ornately decorated, girders-and-glass-ceiling wonder that was old Penn Station. In the text, he covers its history, from construction as a depot for the once-mighty Pennsylvania Railroad to its demolition and far less imposing replacement in the mid-1960s; the full-bleed paintings add impressionistic backgrounds, with hazy scenes of commuters lit by sunlight or lamps, passing through or lingering below soaring architectural spaces. Noting that the destruction of this “palace” created such a public backlash that the Landmarks Preservation Commission was formed—in time to save another gem, Grand Central Station—Low closes with the thought that buildings can be powerful symbols, “the heart and soul of all great cities.” Young readers, New York residents or not, will be more likely to look up the next time they’re downtown, and to understand that every structure has a unique story. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8050-7925-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007


A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018


Hodgkins’s entry in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series draws a visual timeline from centuries back, when humans’ dreams of flying evolved into reality. The succinct, simplified text cites human efforts to fly like birds and describes the aeronautical physics of gliding using drag force, thrust and lift. Kelley’s breezy illustrations convey a buoyant tone and keep the explanations understandable for curious young minds. Two pages of backmatter provide “Flying Facts” and instructions for making a paper airplane. Lightly touching on everything from the days of imagining the winged Icarus and dreaming of wings to today’s nonchalance about air travel, this is a welcome addition to easy science books about humans and flight. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-029558-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Collins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2007