Brainstorming—a book that ought to launch a thousand robots.

RALPH MASIELLO'S ROBOT DRAWING BOOK

Masiello elegantly and joyfully taps into a thankfully enduring artistic tradition: the step-by-step technique that walks readers by hand through the creation of an image on paper.

Just as he has done previously for dinosaurs, dragons and bugs (Ralph Masiello's Dragon Drawing Book, 2007, etc.), here he guides young artists in the creation of robots—“ ’bots,” in the vernacular, as in “Squarehead Thinbot,” “Sparky Springbot” and “Zoidbot.” The artist starts by introducing readers to lines and shapes—nothing is taken for granted—from which can be drawn an elemental robot. He then provides a serious handful of “spare parts,” which can be used to add detail to readers’ creations. The spare-part section is good for sparking the imagination, but the best sparks are thrown by the finished products, which are cool in their radical colors and otherworldliness but not daunting (even if readers are not likely to attain his level of gradients and shadings). Robots are by nature somewhat scary, with their dead, sharklike eyes and sharp edges, and Masiello keeps that spooky quality. But he also knows how to invest them with humor: witness the “Bakerbot,” with a muffin cooking in its belly.

Brainstorming—a book that ought to launch a thousand robots. (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-57091-535-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE

When Bibi, her first and favorite babysitter, moves away, it takes all of August for 8-year-old Eleanor to get beyond her sense of loss and get used to a new caretaker. Her parents grieve, too; her mother even takes some time off work. But, as is inevitable in a two-income family, eventually a new sitter appears. Natalie is sensible and understanding. They find new activities to do together, including setting up a lemonade stand outside Eleanor’s Brooklyn apartment building, waiting for Val, the mail carrier, and taking pictures of flowers with Natalie’s camera. Gradually Eleanor adjusts, September comes, her new teacher writes a welcoming letter, her best friend returns from summer vacation and third grade starts smoothly. Best of all, Val brings a loving letter from Bibi in Florida. While the story is relatively lengthy, each chapter is a self-contained episode, written simply and presented in short lines, accessible to those still struggling with the printed word. Cordell’s gray-scale line drawings reflect the action and help break up the text on almost every page. This first novel is a promising debut. Eleanor’s concerns, not only about her babysitter, but also about playmates, friends and a new school year will be familiar to readers, who will look forward to hearing more about her life. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8424-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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Another win for Judy and her friends.

JUDY MOODY, BOOK QUIZ WHIZ

From the Judy Moody series , Vol. 15

Determination and hard work prepare Judy Moody as she tests her knowledge of book trivia in a battle of the books.

Judy, little brother Stink, and some familiar classmates from their second and third grade classes are the Virginia Dare School Bookworms, the book quiz champions who will be representing the school in the First Ever Book Quiz Blowout at the Starlight Lanes Bowling Alley. Nervous about their competition—Braintree Academy’s Bloodsucking Fake-Moustache Defenders and their star player, Mighty Fantaskey—the team is taking every possible moment to read: on the bus, during karate class, and even at the dinner table. Stink makes a cape out of scribbled-on sticky notes on the books he’s read, and Judy tries her hand at speed-reading. Enthusiasm for reading is never lost even as the children prepare for the contest. A diverse gathering of familiar titles is referenced throughout, matching this series’ reading level (all titles mentioned are compiled in the backmatter). Building excitement propels the story up through the competition to an ultimately satisfying ending. Reynolds’ well-placed watercolor, tea, and ink illustrations break up text, allowing necessary breaks for bridging readers. Aside from teacher and coach Mr. Todd, who is black, and Mighty Fantaskey, who seems to be a child of color, all characters appear white.

Another win for Judy and her friends. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0484-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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