Astonishing artwork shines.

ADA AND THE GALAXIES

Ada, a city child, arrives at her grandparents’ Maine cottage hoping to finally see stars in a night sky—one unobscured by urban lights and buildings.

Alongside Ama and Poobah, Ada kayaks, examines moss, handles shells, spots a crab, and marvels at an osprey’s nest, thinking of her stars all the while. Poobah tells her to watch the tidal waterline on a rock to track time; when the rock disappears, night has fallen. Lively, masterful watercolor illustrations capture Maine’s exhilarating currents of wind and water, its spiky evergreen needles, knobby seaweed, and bristly bird feathers. They convey Ada’s emotions too, through vignettes of her agonized squirms when evening fog blankets the stars. Chapman’s impressive specificity dissolves in a magical, breathtaking spread of the fog, hovering all around the cottage at dusk, a murky, muted diffusion of evening light and moisture. Readers feel they’re sitting alongside Ada as Poobah opens a book on galaxies to ameliorate her frustration, and together they admire real, seamlessly incorporated pictures photographed by the Hubble telescope. Ada twirls, emulating the swirl of a galaxy; she notes a crab in the shape of a constellation. Young readers will delight in seeing our universe’s interconnectedness, and, later, when Ada’s family dashes outside to spin in starlight, they will recognize the inextricable bonds among loved ones. All family members have light-brown skin and curly brown hair.

Astonishing artwork shines. (further information) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1561-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: MIT Kids Press/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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An effective early chapter book conveyed in a slightly overdone gag.

DEAR BEAST

Epistolary dispatches from the eternal canine/feline feud.

Simon the cat is angry. He had done a good job taking care of his boy, Andy, but now that Andy’s parents are divorced, a dog named Baxter has moved into Andy’s dad’s house. Simon believes that there isn’t enough room in Andy’s life for two furry friends, so he uses the power of the pen to get Baxter to move out. Inventively for the early-chapter-book format, the story is told in letters written back and forth; Simon’s are impeccably spelled on personalized stationery while Baxter’s spelling slowly improves through the letters he scrawls on scraps of paper. A few other animals make appearances—a puffy-lipped goldfish who for some reason punctuates her letter with “Blub…blub…” seems to be the only female character (cued through stereotypical use of eyelashes and red lipstick), and a mustachioed snail ferries the mail to and fro. White-appearing Andy is seen playing with both animals as a visual background to the text, as is his friend Noah (a dark-skinned child who perhaps should not be nicknamed “N Man”). Cat lovers will appreciate Simon’s prickliness while dog aficionados will likely enjoy Baxter’s obtuse enthusiasm, and all readers will learn about the time and patience it takes to overcome conflict and jealousy with someone you dislike.

An effective early chapter book conveyed in a slightly overdone gag. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4492-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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