A closer-to-perfect pairing couldn’t be imagined. Everyone wins! (Picture book. 4-10)

THE LEGEND OF ROCK PAPER SCISSORS

Peer through the mists and learn the origin of the game that has resolved playground disputes beyond number.

“Long ago, in an ancient and distant realm called the Kingdom of Backyard, there lived a warrior named Rock.” Rock travels far and wide searching for an adversary that might best him. The clothespin fails in battle, and the tangy sweetness of the apricot is easily squashed. Meanwhile, in the Empire of Mom’s Home Office and the Kitchen Realm, respectively, Paper and Scissors set out on similar quests. Each trounces every foe. The likes of Computer Printer cannot stand against Paper (paper jam!). And the Dinosaur-Shaped Chicken Nuggets are snipped into submission by Scissors. Then Rock meets Scissors and thrashes her. She is pleased, but Rock feels he might never find his challenger until Paper arrives, uttering the fighting words “Hi there.” The rest is history. Daywalt’s silly tale unfolds in hilariously overblown text that is further melodramatized with ample and emphatic use of various display types. It is deliciously illustrated in true Rex style with wackily anthropomorphic inanimate objects and action-packed scenes. Rock is particularly funny, depicted as a small, Easter Island–type boulder with an outsized personality. Cheeky humor and prideful asides will have listeners in stitches.

A closer-to-perfect pairing couldn’t be imagined. Everyone wins! (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-243889-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Good fun for all little ninjas and their parents.

NAUGHTY NINJA TAKES A BATH

After swinging out from the jungle after a long day of ninja-ing, Will makes his way home just in time for a bath. But as all ninjas know, danger lurks around every corner.

Even naughty ninjas get hungry, but Dad says, “Pee-yew,” and insists his little ninja get clean before going near a morsel. Ever the Naughty Ninja, Will follows his dad into the bathroom and immediately spies danger: Poisonous flies that have followed him from the jungle! As any parent would, his dad begs him not to say, “Ninja to the rescue,” because we all know what comes after a catchphrase…chaos! Through each increasingly rough rescue, Dad finds himself more and more defeated in his quest to complete bathtime, but ultimately he starts to find the infectious joy that only the ridiculousness of children can bring out in an adult. The art is bright and finds some nifty ninja perspectives that use the space well. It also places an interracial family at its center: Dad has brown skin and dark, puffy hair, and Mom is a white redhead; when out of his ninja cowl, Will looks like a slightly lighter-skinned version of his father. Kids will laugh at everything the dad is put through, and parents will knowingly nod, because we have all had nights with little ninjas soaking the bathroom floor. The book starts out a little text heavy but finds its groove quickly, reading smoothly going forward. Lots of action means it’s best not to save this one for bedtime.

Good fun for all little ninjas and their parents. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9433-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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An accessible introduction to coding rules that also easily entertains.

HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE

A girl named Pearl programs a (rust-proof) robot to help her build sand castles in this new addition to the Girls Who Code organization’s book program.

The last day of summer vacation is Pearl’s last chance to build a sand castle. All her prior attempts have fallen victim to comic mishaps (such as a “moat” contributed by dog Ada Puglace). For backup, she brings her robot, Pascal, with whom she breaks down the full task—building the sand castle—into small problems: finding a place to build via specific instructions, gathering sand via a sequence (and more efficiently with a loop), and decorating the castle via an IF-THEN-ELSE statement. After she works out the kinks, the oncoming tide throws Pearl for a new loop—literally, as she reuses her previous computer code while adding a moat feature to handle the tide. The cheerful mixed-media illustrations and warm color palette fit both the subject matter and the can-do spirit of the book. The computer science terms are demonstrated in clear, concise ways, allowing them to be mined for humor (such as Pascal’s attempts to place the sand castle in unsuitable places until Pearl learns to be very specific), and serve the story without feeling obtrusive or too much like lessons. The backmatter gives fuller explanations of the terms. Pearl has brown skin and textured, black pigtails, and the other beachgoers are racially diverse.

An accessible introduction to coding rules that also easily entertains. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-29198-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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