A master class in how to make a picture book.

HOW TO MAKE A BOOK (ABOUT MY DOG)

With some help from his dog, Ernie, Barton outlines the process of making an informational picture book.

First there is the idea and then lots of research: Even though Barton knows Ernie really well, he also knows that he doesn’t know everything—a valuable lesson for his young readers. Then, at a level of detail many readers may find astonishing, he describes the roles of the agent, the editor, the art director, the illustrator (and their agent); the myriad people at the publisher who are part of the team that makes the book a reality get mentions too: trafficker, typesetter, proofreader, marketing, etc. Horne illustrates it all with cheery cartoons that depict main characters as White but include people of color among the publisher’s staff. Lots of arrows help readers track the progress of the manuscript across the busy pages, display type highlighting some of the many, many questions that need to be asked and answered along the way. Through it all, Ernie helps to keep both author and readers grounded with requests for play or walks. Though Barton explicitly frames his hypothetical book as nonfiction, aside from minor details, the process he describes applies to works of fiction as well. Readers who’ve never thought very hard about what goes into making a book will come away slightly dizzy and appreciative of the complexity of the process.

A master class in how to make a picture book. (tips for readers, timeline) (Informational picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8128-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SPACE AND OTHER GALACTIC FACTS!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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