Lively and wondrous—readers will be star-struck.

THE BOY WHOSE HEAD WAS FILLED WITH STARS

A STORY ABOUT EDWIN HUBBLE

This biography of astronomer Edwin Hubble, once a boy looking up at the night sky, is a tribute to his life’s work and the joys of staying curious.

When he was n he was a boy, Edwin’s mother and grandfather were supportive of his interests, but when he was older, his father forbade him from studying astronomy. Hubble spent years working as a teacher, but his mind continued to dwell in the stars. After his father’s death, he followed his dreams, worked at Mount Wilson Observatory, studied galaxies, and proved both that the universe is much bigger than was previously thought—depicted in a striking double gatefold—and that it is expanding. The spreads featuring sprawling night skies dotted with stars are especially beguiling. And the book’s lovely pacing affords ample space to pay tribute to the sense of wonder that guided Hubble throughout his life, the repeated refrain being a set of three questions, printed in silver type, that haunted him: “How many stars are in the sky? How did the universe begin? Where did it come from?” The portion of the book about his discovery that the Andromeda Nebula is a separate galaxy gives credit where it’s due, paying tribute to Henrietta Swan Leavitt, an astronomer whose work came before Hubble’s. The story’s concluding direct address to readers—“Look….Look up at the stars”—is genuinely inspiring. All characters are White. Backmatter provides more details on Hubble’s discoveries and includes a bibliography.

Lively and wondrous—readers will be star-struck. (Picture book/biography. 6-12.)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-59270-317-3

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

FLASH FACTS

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining.

DR. SEUSS'S HORSE MUSEUM

A succinct introduction to art history via a Seussian museum of equine art.

This posthumously published text recently discovered in Ted Geisel’s studio uses horse-focused art pieces to provide historical context to artistic movements. Showing art ranging from the Lascaux cave paintings to an untitled 1994 sculpture by Deborah Butterfield, Joyner’s playful illustrations surround the curated photographs of art pieces. By using horses as the departing point in the artistic journey, Seuss and Joyner are able to introduce diverse perspectives, artifacts, and media, including Harnessed Horse from the northern Wei dynasty, a Navajo pictorial blanket titled Oh, My Beautiful Horses, and photographs by Eadweard Muybridge. Questions to readers prompt thought about the artistic concepts introduced, aided by a cast of diverse museumgoers who demonstrate the art terms in action. Joyner further engages readers by illustrating both general cultural and Seussian references. Glimpses of the Cat in the Hat are seen throughout the book; he poses as a silent observer, genially guarding Seuss’ legacy. For art enthusiasts, some illustrations become an inside joke, as references to artists such as Alexander Calder, Salvador Dalí, Marina Abramovic, and René Magritte make appearances. Thorough backmatter contains notes on each art piece referenced along with a study of the manuscript’s history and Seuss’ artistic style. Absent, probably unsurprisingly, is any acknowledgment of the Cat’s antecedents in minstrelsy and Seuss’ other racist work, but prominent among the museumgoers are black- and Asian-presenting characters as well as a girl wearing hijab and a child who uses a wheelchair.

A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55912-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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