Simple and pleasing, with classroom-discussion and read-aloud appeal

A LEAF CAN BE...

A leaf's various purposes are contemplated in this gentle celebration of nature.

Fresh leaves burst forth in Salas’ opening stanza, followed by two- to four-word couplets listing a leaf’s many functions. This pattern continues for fall and winter, allowing her rhymed verse to reinforce the cyclical nature of the seasons. What pours forth in free-association–like fashion is sometimes poetic (“Wind rider / Lake glider”), oftentimes purposeful (“Air cleaner / Earth greener”) and mostly playful (“Frost catcher / “Moth matcher”). Dabija’s soft, ethereal illustrations lend a warmth and vibrancy to the text. Her palette, dictated by the weather, is full of lush greens, sultry browns, golden yellows and dusky blues. Through heavy use of the computer, she layers textures into varied patterns and shapes, giving each illustration an organic feel. While this effect is skillfully used on the backgrounds, it is less effective on the primary objects, leaving people and animals to appear pasted in, rather than integrated into the artwork. Compositionally, the images are nicely designed, but since one does not visually lead to the next, they are more like tableaux than a continuous visual narrative. An addendum explaining the author’s word choices (what does she mean by “mouth filler”?) is included, as well as a suggested reading list and glossary.

Simple and pleasing, with classroom-discussion and read-aloud appeal . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6203-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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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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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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