A compact but cogent tribute to a single voice for change that now leads a rising chorus.

OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE

GRETA THUNBERG'S CALL TO SAVE THE PLANET

The origin story of the teenage climate change superhero.

Once, as she puts it, “the invisible girl in the back who doesn’t say anything,” Thunberg has, over just the last two years, become a major young presence in the environmental movement, inspiring “Friday school strikes” worldwide and challenging governing bodies to get off the stick: “I want you to panic,” she told the World Economic Forum in Davos. “I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.” Skipping Thunberg’s personal history aside from characterizing her as one who “could think about one thing for a long, long time” (an ability Thunberg associates with her Asperger’s diagnosis, unnamed here), Winter pithily retraces the course of her transformation. She begins with a teacher’s lecture on climate change and a period of intense reading and video watching and then goes on to show how Thunberg’s lonely Friday picket outside Stockholm’s Parliament building gains local, then international, support. The illustrations, equally spare, often place the white teenager front and center before culminating in a double-page spread filled with children of diverse hues and styles of dress holding up signs reading “Don’t Burn MY Future” and like urgent messages, followed by a direct question in big, cut-out letters: “WHAT WILL YOU DO?” As one sign puts it, “There Is No Planet B” for any of us.

A compact but cogent tribute to a single voice for change that now leads a rising chorus. (source notes) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6778-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

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It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF PLANET EARTH

Flaps, pull tabs, and pop-ups large and small enhance views of our planet’s inside, outside, atmosphere, biosphere, and geophysics.

It’s a hefty, high-speed tour through Earth’s features, climates, and natural resources, with compressed surveys of special topics on multileveled flaps and a spread on the history of life that is extended by a double-foldout wing. But even when teeming with small images of land forms, wildlife, or diverse groups of children and adults, Balicevic’s bright cartoon illustrations look relatively uncrowded. Although the quality of the paper engineering is uneven, the special effects add dramatic set pieces: Readers need to hold in place a humongous column of cumulonimbus clouds for it to reach its full extension; a volcano erupts in a gratifyingly large scale; and, on the plate-tectonics spread, a pull tab gives readers the opportunity to run the Indian Plate into the Eurasian one and see the Himalayas bulge up. A final spread showing resources, mostly renewable ones, being tapped ends with an appeal to protect “our only home.” All in all, it’s a likely alternative to Dougal Jerram’s Utterly Amazing Earth, illustrated by Dan Crisp and Molly Lattin (2017), being broader in scope and a bit more generous in its level of detail.

It’s nothing new in territory or angle, but it’s still a serviceable survey with reasonably durable moving parts. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 979-1-02760-562-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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