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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

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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

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To commemorate well-documented old sightings of huge sea serpents gamboling off the New England coast, Ibatoulline paints richly detailed scenes of wide seas and narrow shores, of small boats, monstrous writhing coils and astonished onlookers—to which Anderson pairs an old man’s reminiscence in verse: “The serpent was twirling, just chasing its tail, / And showed all intention of staying. / ‘Is it back in the deep?’ ‘Is it eating our sheep?’ / ‘I think,’ I said, ‘that the serpent is playing.’ ” Young monster lovers will share the wonder of this never-solved mystery, and applaud when a company of sea-hunter’s strenuous efforts to kill the monster yield only a large mackerel. A 19th-century tale presented in grand, 19th-century style. (afterword) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7636-2038-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2005

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