An amusing sing-along read-aloud to introduce space exploration and astronautics.

HEY-HO, TO MARS WE'LL GO!

A SPACE-AGE VERSION OF "THE FARMER IN THE DELL"

A first-person journey to Mars, to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell,” with additional space exploration facts.

Through text that reads to the tune of the familiar children’s song, readers join four children—all of different skin tone and hair color—as they climb aboard a rocket headed for Mars. Each verse introduces new astronautic concepts and vocabulary, from the “launch” on Earth to the exploration of Mars. Readers become crew members and take part in life on the spacecraft: “I squirt myself clean”; “We sleep on the walls”; “Our greens grow in bags”; “Cycling keeps us strong.” As the children enter zero gravity and float around the page, so do the words, often requiring readers to turn the book. Lendroth includes second-person point-of-view paragraphs set in smaller type that delve deeper into astronautic facts, inviting readers’ interaction and preparing them for an exciting trip into space. Kolar’s detailed yet cheerful illustrations, done in his familiar, matte, graphically bold style, encourage an engaging and positive outlook on being an astronaut. Overall, the words flow well with the tune and, together with the often–upside-down illustrations, create the perspective of being in space.

An amusing sing-along read-aloud to introduce space exploration and astronautics. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-744-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime.

ELBOW GREASE VS. MOTOZILLA

Who needs sanity when you’ve got family?

The title character of Elbow Grease (2018) and his family of Demolition Derby trucks return to face an all-new competitor. Once again, ’Bo is feeling inadequate next to his fan-favorite brothers. Despite Mel the Mechanic’s encouragement—he’s “the best at getting better”—he wants to be noticed. But instead, he notices someone unavoidable. Motozilla, the monster machine that turns trucks “into crunch sandwiches,” is currently undefeated. Trouble is, you’d need a truck with an array of skills to take him down. Thinking fast, ’Bo makes the wild and somewhat improbable suggestion that he and his brothers join together to form a single supertruck. Will it be enough to take down this bully? Quips, jests, and teamwork are the name of the game as pro wrestler Cena improves on his writing in this second outing, which demonstrates that individual glory falls in the face of concentrated cooperation. Rollicking, radical art portrays the battle in all its gritty glory, mud and twisted metal galore. Human crowds show a diverse range of races and genders, and the trucks’ keeper, Mel, has light-brown skin and wears glasses.

Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7353-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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