A lightweight cooperation lesson wrapped in slime.


From the Kate the Chemist series , Vol. 2

Kate and friends learn chemistry and friendship through fun, gross science.

Ten-year-old Kate is superexcited about the Fall Science Challenge. The winners will demonstrate a Vomiting Pumpkin stunt! But in her team’s haste to make the best Ghost (vapor from water and dry ice) and Moon Rocks (lemon juice on colored baking soda), they fight with another team, which leads to a minor injury. Kate and her teammates, Birdie and Phoenix, don’t get a detention but a lesson in cooperation. The two squabbling teams are assigned to pretest an escape room. As a consequence for fighting in school while using potentially dangerous substances, it’s an unusual choice, but it certainly leads to a clever, multichapter puzzle. While this escape room wouldn’t be the best choice for an actual classroom—to solve it, the students rely on outside knowledge from the YouTube videos of author avatar Dr. Caroline and use a steamer while unsupervised—it’s a whiz of an adventure when it’s safely fiction. Accurately representing escape rooms, the puzzles are not solvable by readers, who don’t have access to the physical artifacts. The excitement of brainstorming under a time limit, however, comes through. Clip-art–style illustrations are scattered throughout the short chapters, and one experiment, requiring some special equipment, is provided in detail. Kate and Phoenix are White; Birdie is South Asian.

A lightweight cooperation lesson wrapped in slime. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11658-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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An immensely popular figure in his day, the Brazilian-born Alberto Santos-Dumont invented a personal dirigible that he...


So the Wright Brothers were the first to fly? Au contraire, asserts Griffith in this rare portrait of a little-known (in this country, at least) early aviator.

An immensely popular figure in his day, the Brazilian-born Alberto Santos-Dumont invented a personal dirigible that he steered around the Eiffel Tower and drove out to run errands. Griffith’s prose isn’t always polished (“If Blériot succeeded to fly first….”), but her narrative makes her subject’s stature clear as she takes him from a luncheon with jeweler Louis Cartier, who invented the wristwatch to help his friend keep track of his time in the air, to his crowning aeronautical achievement in 1906: He beat out both the secretive Wrights and pushy rival Louis Blériot as the first to fly an aircraft that could take off and land on its own power. The author covers his career in more detail in a closing note (with photos), ascribing his eventual suicide in part to remorse that, instead of ushering in an era of peace as he had predicted, aircraft were being used in warfare. Montanari’s genteel pastel-and-chalk pictures of turn-of-the-20th-century Paris and Parisians don’t capture how much larger than life Santos-Dumont was, but they do succeed in helping Griffith bring him to American audiences.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0011-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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Peddle debuts with a small, wordless epiphany that flows like an animated short. A low winter sun first lights a child building a snowman, then, after a gloriously starry night, returns to transform it—to melt it. Leaving most of each page untouched, Peddle assembles a minimum of accurately brushed pictorial elements for each scene: the builder; the snow figure; their lengthening shadows; the rising sun’s coruscating circle in the penultimate picture; a scatter of sticks, coal, and a carrot in the final one. Most children will still prefer The Snowy Day, but others may find layers of meaning beneath the story’s deceptive simplicity. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-385-32693-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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