A clever presentation of some basic anatomy by a duo with talented hands indeed.

THERE'S A SKELETON INSIDE YOU!

Space travelers discover the utility of hands and what’s inside them: bones, muscles, and nerves.

The Australian creative team who introduced readers to microbes in Do Not Lick This Book (2017) returns with a similarly metafictive introduction to our structural insides. Zooming through space to a friend’s birthday party, Quog and Oort accidentally crash their ship on Earth. Breaking the fourth wall, the narrator asks readers to help these aliens by turning the page to open their space ship. Quog, a green blob, is impressed by this demonstration of the utility of hands and immediately grows some but finds she also needs bones, muscles, and nerves. Readers are given plenty of opportunities to interact with the story: putting their hands on the pages so that Oort, a pink, three-eyed gas cloud, can see inside; lifting the book; and even turning a page with their eyes closed. There’s a departing high-five after the ETs successfully fix their vessel, then a grand, wordless spread shows what hands and arms are really good for: hugs. A final tongue-in-cheek spread offers instructions for growing your own extra hands. The uncluttered, flat design of the playful illustrations has the air of animation and nicely contrasts with three-dimensional views of bones, muscles and ligaments, and nerves set on a surprisingly pink background. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 87.5% of actual size.)

A clever presentation of some basic anatomy by a duo with talented hands indeed. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-17537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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

HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER

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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