Action oriented with a sci-fi feel, this will have robot-obsessed readers clamoring for more

NANOBOTS

A young, white inventor creates a team of microscopic robots, each with its own power, who discover that together they can solve problems, big or small.

Meet the NanoBots, tiny machines that may just change the world. Gall (Dinotrux, 2009, etc.) once again pinpoints a high-interest market (robots + superheroes) as the basis for this appealing and sellable work. From ChewBots that can clean up oil spills to MediBots that are both doctor and prescription, these robots can do it all. But when they encounter a mega-robot, doubt creeps in until teamwork saves the day and confidence is restored. Visually based on the style of a woodblock print or etching with hatching to describe surface direction, the digital artwork is reminiscent of early Chris Van Allsburg, with illustrations able to exist as their own ministories. Ending on a high note, with the promise of future missions and adventures to come, the possibility of a sequel or another series is palpable. An informational page on nanorobotics may even inspire some readers to dream of future careers and discoveries in the field.

Action oriented with a sci-fi feel, this will have robot-obsessed readers clamoring for more . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-37552-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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