A breeze through a subject often covered in the primary grades. Pair with Vicki Cobb and Julia Gorton’s I Face the Wind...

WHAT ON EARTH? WIND

EXPLORE, CREATE AND INVESTIGATE

A multifaceted invitation to young readers to explore, create, and investigate the phenomenon of wind.

As part of a new series with an interdisciplinary approach to learning about our world, this combines reading with doing, offering facts and explanations, an Abenaki legend and Greek ideas about the wind, and two cheerful, original poems. Thomas explains that warm air rises, introduces the Beaufort scale, and discusses storms, wind chill, wind-dispersed seeds, and wind energy. She invites readers to investigate and create with crafty projects and poems of their own. Projects use familiar materials such as plastic bottles and straws and have clear directions. Templates are provided but some adult help is advised. The explanations are simple, sometimes too much so. Wind doesn’t really “push” sailboats, though it would push the wind-powered vehicle that is one of the projects. Many of the botanical examples will be unfamiliar to American readers. Each spread covers a single topic or project. Information and step-by-step directions are supplied in colorful text boxes, and plentiful flat graphics include children with various hair and skin colors (and almost universally red noses) as well as two world maps as background for facts about wind around the world. A companion volume, What on Earth? Water, follows a similar format.

A breeze through a subject often covered in the primary grades. Pair with Vicki Cobb and Julia Gorton’s I Face the Wind (2003). (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68297-018-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world.

DON'T LET THEM DISAPPEAR

An appeal to share concern for 12 familiar but threatened, endangered, or critically endangered animal species.

The subjects of Marino’s intimate, close-up portraits—fairly naturalistically rendered, though most are also smiling, glancing up at viewers through human eyes, and posed at rest with a cute youngling on lap or flank—steal the show. Still, Clinton’s accompanying tally of facts about each one’s habitat and daily routines, to which the title serves as an ongoing refrain, adds refreshingly unsentimental notes: “A single giraffe kick can kill a lion!”; “[S]hivers of whale sharks can sense a drop of blood if it’s in the water nearby, though they eat mainly plankton.” Along with tucking in collective nouns for each animal (some not likely to be found in major, or any, dictionaries: an “embarrassment” of giant pandas?), the author systematically cites geographical range, endangered status, and assumed reasons for that status, such as pollution, poaching, or environmental change. She also explains the specific meaning of “endangered” and some of its causes before closing with a set of doable activities (all uncontroversial aside from the suggestion to support and visit zoos) and a list of international animal days to celebrate.

A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51432-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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