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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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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