With an elegant, spare text and playful, daring pictures, Chin’s latest opus exerts a powerful pull all its own.

GRAVITY

After stunning explorations of the Galápagos Islands and California’s redwoods, Chin turns literally high-concept for a study of gravity’s pull.

“Gravity // makes / objects // fall / to Earth.” This big idea spans three double-page spreads, as (in a bit of metafictive fun) the very book in hand falls to Earth. It lands on a beach, where a brown-skinned boy plays with space toys, a half-peeled banana waiting nearby. What would happen without gravity? Chin ponders this visually, as (with the boy clinging to a rock) the book and toys soar into space to comingle, mysteriously, with the trappings of a lemonade stand. A series of panels goes even broader-concept, as shifts in perspective show the moon drifting away from the Earth and Earth untethered from the sun’s pull. The text tackles the role of mass in gravity’s relative force before rejoining the central visual arc by echoing the first sentence. That array of objects—beach ball, toy rocket, now-mottled banana—rains down on a group of Caucasian girls, who marvel at the sudden shower. Clearly, it’s their lemonade stand that’s endured Chin’s mischievous dabble with anti-gravity, as on the final spread, the boy juggles a sploshing pitcher, lemons and paper cups on the surrounding sand.

With an elegant, spare text and playful, daring pictures, Chin’s latest opus exerts a powerful pull all its own. (“More about Gravity,” bibliography) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59643-717-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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Outstanding—a breath of fresh air, just like Rocket herself.

ROCKET SAYS LOOK UP!

Rocket is on a mission…to get her angst-y teen brother to put down his cellphone and look up.

An aspiring astronaut, Rocket makes it a point to set up her telescope and gaze at the stars every night before bedtime. Inspired by Mae Jemison, Rocket, a supercute black girl with braids and a coiffed Afro, hopes to be “the greatest astronaut, star catcher, and space walker who has ever lived.” As the night of the Phoenix meteor shower approaches, Rocket makes fliers inviting everyone in her neighborhood to see the cosmic event at the park. Over the course of her preparations, she shares information about space-shuttle missions, what causes a meteor shower, and when is the best time to see one. Jamal, Rocket’s insufferable older brother, who sports a high-top fade and a hoodie, is completely engrossed in his phone, even as just about everybody in the neighborhood turns up. The bright, digital illustrations are an exuberant celebration of both space and black culture that will simultaneously inspire and ground readers. That the main characters are unapologetically black is made plain through myriad details. Rocket’s mother is depicted cornrowing her daughter’s hair with a wide-toothed comb and hair oil. Gap-toothed Rocket, meanwhile, makes her enthusiasm for space clear in the orange jumpsuit both she and her cat wear—and even Jamal’s excited by the end.

Outstanding—a breath of fresh air, just like Rocket herself. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9442-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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