A fast-paced tale that will spark curiosity—Dr. Apgar would approve.

VIRGINIA APGAR

From the She Persisted series

DasGupta, herself a physician, picks up her pen to add the story of pioneering female physician Virginia Apgar to the growing pantheon presented in the She Persisted series.

Though the name Apgar might be familiar to many adults, young audiences meeting her for the first time will find a worthy hero in these pages. Virginia was born in New Jersey in 1909 and was a go-getter from the very start. Her family was not wealthy, but education and curiosity were prized. Even though there were very few female physicians at the time, Virginia knew from a young age that she wanted to study medicine. From childhood and through her career, she gained a reputation as a “fast talker, fast thinker and fast mover” who would let nothing stand in her way. When sexism blocked her path to a career in surgery, she pivoted to the field of anesthesiology, where she would make her greatest impact in obstetrics, pioneering the infant health assessment that now bears her name. Drawing on primary sources and refraining from speculation while always being mindful of her chapter-book audience, DasGupta offers a biography that is just right for young readers eager for independence. Flint’s airy illustrations serve to illuminate the text in a charming style, depicting Apgar and most of her contemporaries as White. Tips on persistence and sources round out the book.

A fast-paced tale that will spark curiosity—Dr. Apgar would approve. (Biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11577-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Lacking structure.

BOTTLE TOPS

THE ART OF EL ANATSUI

An introduction to the work of El Anatsui.

In this half-baked biography of the acclaimed Ghanaian artist, Goldberg attempts to string together a comprehensive description of the subject’s life and art—with special attention to his striking sculptures made from bottle caps—and the politics that shaped both. Compelling illustrations—in paint and collage and supported with photographs of Anatsui’s original works in the backmatter—convey aspects of the artist’s life, though they may not hold a young reader’s attention as well as a sparkling, 30-foot-tall fabric sculpture. With little to no background on how Anatsui rose to prominence in the global art scene and only the lightest of touches on the political background in Ghana, why he left to live in Nigeria, or why the trans-Atlantic slave trade might be an important topic for his art, the writing lacks a clear driving theme or message. Passable for those familiar with the work but otherwise flimsy, this book falls prey to the trap of oversimplification on too many fronts, among them the development of an artist, the importance of contemporary African art abroad, and the concept of reusing and recycling; even the “art activity” proposed in the backmatter leaves something to be desired. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Lacking structure. (author’s note, text sources, quotation sources) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: tomorrow

ISBN: 978-1-62014-966-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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This lighthearted addition to the STEM shelf encourages children to question, hypothesize, experiment, and observe.

IT'S A ROUND, ROUND WORLD!

From the Joulia Copernicus series

In a confident first-person narrative, young scientist Joulia Copernicus debunks the story that Columbus “proved Earth is round.”

Informing readers that Columbus knew this fact, and so did most people of his time, Joulia also points out that “Ancient Greek, Islamic, and Indian scholars theorized that Earth was round WAY before Columbus’s time.” Confident Joulia explains how Columbus, shown as a haughty captain in the humorous, cartoon illustrations, and his fellow mariners confirmed Earth was round by discerning “that when ships sail away from you, they seem to disappear from the bottom. When they sail toward you, they appear from the top. On a flat Earth, you’d see the entire ship the entire time.” The accompanying illustrations, almost like animation cels, provide the visuals readers need to confirm these assertions. Joulia also turns to astronomy. A lunar eclipse is the highlight of a double-page spread with a large yellow sun, a personified blue and green Earth wearing sunglasses, and the moon moving in iterations through the Earth’s shadow. This shows readers that the Earth’s shadow is “ROUND!” Joulia has straight, brown hair and pale skin and is almost always the only human in any given illustration. It’s great to see a young woman scientist, but it’s too bad there’s not more diversity around her. Two experiments stimulate further exploration.

This lighthearted addition to the STEM shelf encourages children to question, hypothesize, experiment, and observe. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63592-128-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: StarBerry Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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