Preposterous situations and farcical sound-alike sentences will elicit groans and giggles.

NO READING ALLOWED

THE WORST READ-ALOUD BOOK EVER

Homophones in versatile parallel sentences create absurd scenarios.

The pattern is simple but endlessly funny: Two sentences, each illustrated, sound the same but are differentiated by their use of homophones. On the verso of the opening spread a cartoon restaurant scene shows a diner lifting a plate of spaghetti and meatballs to a waiter who removes a dark hair from the plate of noodles: “The hair came forth.” (Both figures have brown skin.) Opposite, the scene shows a race with a tortoise at the finish line while a hare trails the tortoise, a snake, and a snail: “The hare came fourth.” The humorous line drawings feature an array of humans, animals, and monsters and provide support and context to the sentences, however bizarre they may seem. New vocabulary is constantly introduced, as is the idea that spelling and punctuation can alter meaning. Some pairings get quite sophisticated; others are rather forced. “The barred man looted the establishment. / The bard man luted the establishment” stretches the concept, paralleling barred with bard as adjectives and looted with luted as verbs. The former is an orange-jumpsuited White prisoner in a cell; the other, a brown-skinned musician strumming a lute for a racially diverse group of dancers. Poetic license may allow for luted, though the word lute is glaringly missing from the detailed glossary.

Preposterous situations and farcical sound-alike sentences will elicit groans and giggles. (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72820-659-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts.

YOUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE

From a Caldecott and Sibert honoree, an invitation to take a mind-expanding journey from the surface of our planet to the furthest reaches of the observable cosmos.

Though Chin’s assumption that we are even capable of understanding the scope of the universe is quixotic at best, he does effectively lead viewers on a journey that captures a sense of its scale. Following the model of Kees Boeke’s classic Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps (1957), he starts with four 8-year-old sky watchers of average height (and different racial presentations). They peer into a telescope and then are comically startled by the sudden arrival of an ostrich that is twice as tall…and then a giraffe that is over twice as tall as that…and going onward and upward, with ellipses at each page turn connecting the stages, past our atmosphere and solar system to the cosmic web of galactic superclusters. As he goes, precisely drawn earthly figures and features in the expansive illustrations give way to ever smaller celestial bodies and finally to glimmering swirls of distant lights against gulfs of deep black before ultimately returning to his starting place. A closing recap adds smaller images and additional details. Accompanying the spare narrative, valuable side notes supply specific lengths or distances and define their units of measure, accurately explain astronomical phenomena, and close with the provocative observation that “the observable universe is centered on us, but we are not in the center of the entire universe.”

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts. (afterword, websites, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4623-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Trivial but tantalizing.

HUMAN BODY

From the Odd Science series

Fast facts about the human body and all its parts inside and out.

Illustrator Olstein has turned his Tumblr blog of science facts into a science-trivia series for young readers. This title offers a collection of info-bits about the human body. A table of contents reveals its organization. From atoms to bacteria, hair to feet, each of the 20 sections is covered in one or more spreads. Each spread includes one to four facts. The author’s choices are quirky and surprising: “Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid”; “Your lungs are not the same size”; “Besides primates and people, koalas are the only other animals to have unique fingerprints.” They’re usually accompanied by a short explanation, but he offers no sources. Graphically interesting illustrations in muted retro colors accompany each entry. Humans may be white, brown, or green. The clean lines and minimalist depictions make these look like posters, and they are both appealing and appropriate to both substance and audience. Some involve a bit of visual humor; a cat seems to be combing a woman’s hair; an ice cream cone has turned another woman blue. Other titles in this series publish simultaneously: Amazing Inventions, Incredible Creatures, and Spectacular Space. Libraries where the National Geographic Kids Weird but True series circulates well may find this similarly appealing.

Trivial but tantalizing. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4549-3759-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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