An enchanting, inspirational account of Jemison’s early life that illustrates the importance of encouraging and supporting...

MAE AMONG THE STARS

Pioneering African-American astronaut Mae Jemison’s childhood love of space and supportive parents led to her illustrious career.

Little Mae’s pastoral childhood home is presented in warm yellows, blues, and greens, visually establishing the atmosphere promoted by her loving parents, who encourage her dreams. When Mae’s school assignment asks her to write about what she wants to be when she grows up, Mae responds that she wants to see Earth from space. Her parents tell her she must become an astronaut to do that, and when Mae asks if they think she can, their response weaves its way throughout the narrative: “Of course you can. If you can dream it, if you believe it and work hard for it, anything is possible.” Thus begins Mae’s obsession with space: reading about space, creating homemade astronaut costumes and spaceships, and drawing spacescapes. But when she shares her dreams in school, her white teacher discourages her, and her mostly white classmates laugh. Mae is crestfallen, her despondency captured with deceptively simple lines and a blue wash. Her dismay is short-lived, as she is buoyed up by her parents’ continued support and encouragement. Uplifted, Mae promises to wave to her parents from space one day—and she does just that, as the first African-American astronaut.

An enchanting, inspirational account of Jemison’s early life that illustrates the importance of encouraging and supporting children’s dreams. (biographical note) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-265173-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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An adorable adventure in cartography.

CAMILLA, CARTOGRAPHER

An exercise of spatial thinking through a snowy forest.

Camilla the warthog collects maps. Maps of stars, New York, even the London Tube. She even owns an ancient map of her forest. Unfortunately for her, she believes all lands have been explored and there is nothing new to chart. However, with a snowy morning comes a new opportunity. When her hedgehog neighbor, Parsley, asks for her help in finding the creek, Camilla quivers with excitement when she realizes the snow-covered land “is uncharted territory.” With all landmarks covered in snow, Camilla and Parsley must use their spatial-reasoning skills and a compass to find a new way to the creek. Their trailblazing journey proves a challenge as they keep bumping into trees, rocks, and walls. But when they find the creek, Camilla will have all the information and tools ready to draw out a new map, to break out in case of another snowfall. Wood’s delightful illustrations and Dillemuth’s expertise in the matter engage readers in the woodland creatures’ adventures. In addition, Dillemuth, who holds a doctorate in geography, provides activities in the backmatter for parents and caregivers to help children develop their own spatial-reasoning skills, such as sketching and reading maps or using cardinal directions.

An adorable adventure in cartography. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3033-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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