Wow! This cross-cultural cipher is a feast for the eyes and a challenge for the mind.

READ REVIEW

LOOK! WHAT DO YOU SEE?

AN ART PUZZLE BOOK OF AMERICAN AND CHINESE SONGS

At first glance, this book looks indecipherable—but look closer!

This puzzle book opens with a mission and a clue: it invites readers to investigate pages of what looks like Chinese calligraphy, paired with lushly painted illustrations, to crack a secret code. Would-be codebreakers learn that the first 12 spreads are classic American folk songs (“Maybe you know them from campfire or school bus sing-alongs”), and the remaining five codes are English-language translations of classic Chinese folk songs. This mission may best be enjoyed intergenerationally with a participant who has some American cultural knowledge, as the songs will likely vary in familiarity for younger readers. Having cracked the code, readers of all ages will revel in the thrill of triumph, poring over each rich spread and going on to learn the lyrics of the songs they don’t already know, both American and Chinese. Indeed, the experience would be even more satisfying with music to accompany the text, so families may find themselves seeking it out. Stadtlander’s vibrantly textured scenes perfectly capture the nostalgia of the songs, and they smoothly transition from the West to the East. A guide to the code and an answer key complete the experience.

Wow! This cross-cultural cipher is a feast for the eyes and a challenge for the mind. (Picture book. 8-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-451-47377-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An impressive manual for achieving Scratch programming mastery and creating genuinely entertaining games.

SCRATCH PROGRAMMING PLAYGROUND

LEARN TO PROGRAM BY MAKING COOL GAMES

A Scratch guide that goes beyond basic games and into some instructional depth.

After an introduction explaining the book’s structure and a first chapter that gets users up and running in Scratch, each following chapter is dedicated to a single game. From an early maze game to more-complicated games that resemble popular ones, such as a brick-breaker game and a “Fruit Ninja” clone called “Fruit Slicer,” readers are guided through screenshot illustrations of what the visual Scratch code should look like, as well as clear explanations about what the code is doing. Additionally, this manual’s heavy on customization, encouraging readers to make their own art for the games in the Scratch Paint Editor (although it also provides links to project files with sprites and other images to help those short on time or artistic abilities), and it even includes instructions on how to make “cheats” for the games. Each game is followed by skill summaries and review questions. The chapters’ complexity builds, climaxing in an ambitious, complicated-but-achievable final “Super Mario”–style game. Aside from the easy-to-follow instructions, puns give the book personality, and recommended resources pair with a thorough index to maximize usability. The structure’s ideal for classrooms, and the writing is accessible to independent readers—younger, with parental assistance.

An impressive manual for achieving Scratch programming mastery and creating genuinely entertaining games. (Nonfiction. 8-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59327-762-8

Page Count: 292

Publisher: No Starch Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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