Abrupt ending aside, this lively presentation on waste and where to put it will be much appreciated.


Garbage is yummy—if you’re a detritivore.

A what? You know—one of those leftovers-eaters, like a dung beetle. They eat poop. Eeew! Maybe a vulture or a termite is more your thing. No—not a scavenger afficionado? Then you’re definitely a fungiphile—a decomposer fan. Hey, garbage has to go somewhere; why not into a specialist’s innards? Garbage would be covering the entire planet if these bio-friends didn’t pick up the slack. There’s one humungous problem, though. For the most part, they can break down only organic material. You know—decaying plants, food, and…bodies! So what happens to the inorganic trash? That’s where people come in: We make it, and then we dump it. All over the place! It takes 1,000 years for a running shoe to decompose, and who has that kind of time? Barton tackles garbage with her familiar comic-book–style illustrations and speech bubbles. The two-way informative dialogue between chatty narrator and characters keeps the pace brisk, although it’s missing some of the signature humor for which the author is appreciated. Four concluding pages are dedicated to inorganic waste solutions, but of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” triumvirate, the “reduce” element is given short shrift. And then it ends. Disappointingly, there is no backmatter listing resources, projects, and/or suggestions to reduce waste, which seems necessary for this critical topic. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Abrupt ending aside, this lively presentation on waste and where to put it will be much appreciated. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20703-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to.


Pearl and her robot, Pascal, take their coding skills for a spin at the amusement park in this Girls Who Code picture book, a follow-up to How To Code a Sandcastle (2018).

The park has many rides to choose from, and Pearl has 10 tokens to last her the day. But her favorite ride, the Python roller coaster, looks busy. Pearl decides to do something else fun, using code concepts such as variables to keep track of the length of the line and her remaining tokens and a conditional statement to decide when to return to the Python. Throughout, computer science terms are defined crisply in the text and vividly illustrated in the pictures, which use images such as popcorn bags for variables and the Ferris wheel for loops (keeping track of ice cream flavors seems somewhat contrived). The backmatter explains these ideas more fully. Pascal’s too-literal interpretations of Pearl’s statements make for several amusing moments along the way. When Pearl runs short of tokens (a missed opportunity to talk about checking for more than one condition?), she’s undaunted by the disaster, taking readers on a fun hunt for a secret hidden password, in a nod to the importance of proper sequencing. Pearl has brown skin and black curls; others at the park have a variety of skin tones.

Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-29203-7

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.


Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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