A delightful blend of fact and fiction.

ZEE GROWS A TREE

A little girl and a Douglas fir grow together on a Christmas tree farm.

On the day of Zee’s birth, a Douglas-fir seedling, planted by her parents, also sprouts. Zee’s parents take care of Zee and her tree, and both “[grow] bigger and stronger.” When Zee starts preschool, her tree is transplanted outdoors. As Zee makes new friends and learns the alphabet, her tree experiences new animals and changing weather. On her fourth birthday, Zee is shorter than her classmates and her tree is shorter than other trees, but that summer both have growth spurts. When Zee starts kindergarten, she “[gets] a whole new look,” and her tree is pruned into a “perfect cone shape.” And on it goes, Rusch’s gentle text describing her protagonists’ parallel growth. Zee’s education continues in first grade, and her tree learns “how to turn a branch into a new treetop.” Zee’s adult teeth grow in, and her tree sprouts new branches. During a spring and summer drought, Zee, now old enough to take part in its care, faithfully waters her parched tree, going on to mulch it in fall and screen it in winter. By Zee’s eighth birthday, her tree is old and tall enough to be a Christmas tree. Informative factual text about Douglas firs and their care accompanies each stage of Zee’s and her tree’s parallel growth while gentle, realistic illustrations, rendered in soft color washes, visually chronicle their emerging relationship. Zee and her parents present White.

A delightful blend of fact and fiction. (index, author's note, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9754-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Informative, empowering, and fun.

ROX'S SECRET CODE

Girl power abounds in this book about coding that introduces young readers to the world of programming while offering them hands-on activities via a companion app.

In this title that was first introduced as a customizable, personalized print-on-demand product, Rox has a superpower. Using code, she programs toy robots that can do things like make broccoli disappear—or mischief. When Dad tells Rox to clean her room, she quickly thinks up a bot that will do it for her, writing code that instructs her bot to use artificial intelligence to sort objects by color and type. Though Rox knows that there’s a high potential for her creation to rebel, the perks outweigh any potential adverse effects. Rox’s robot has her room neat and tidy in no time—and then the entire home. Chorebot’s AI allows it to keep learning, and it seems Chorebot can do no wrong until the robot decides to rearrange the entire city (both buildings and people) by type, style, and gender. Chorebot goes “out of his artificial mind!” Rox must now stop her creation…without the assistance of the internet. The artwork, styled in the tradition of popular superhero series, is peppy and colorful, and it depicts Rox as an adorable black girl donning a black bomber jacket and a pink tutu. A companion app (not available for review) allows readers to create a bot of their own.

Informative, empowering, and fun. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-57687-899-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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