HOW YOU GOT SO SMART

David Milgrim’s rhyming take on the journey of growing up and acquiring knowledge begins with a baby chewing on a book and exploring what happens when his breakfast is tossed on the floor. The same baby, now a preschooler, plays with the pots and pans and asks questions like “why is it called a pair of underwear if there’s only one?” Then the little guy becomes an older child who likes to look through telescopes and attempts to fly. Many of these images are essentially universal, but they all have funny and unique elements, like the above question about underwear or a funky invention involving watermelons and a skateboard. The simple, cartoonish illustrations also capture a familiar, humorous vibe. What isn’t universal, however, is that this child seems to have a larger-than-average appetite for knowledge. He’s shown making some complex inventions, playing several instruments and reading books on science and art history. This seems to be aimed at children who have actually earned the “smart” title. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-25260-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2010

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Don’ts and Do’s in a familiar formula go down easily for fans and will provide a good conversation starter for parents.

HOW DO DINOSAURS STAY SAFE?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

Officer Buckle had Gloria, his police canine, to help his audience see the value of his safety lessons; Yolen and Teague have their dinos.

Addressing such perennial topics as jumping on the bed, climbing too high and stair safety, Yolen and Teague first present the dinos doing the wrong things, their faces plainly showing that they are surprised and scared by the world of hurt about to come their ways while caring (and dwarfed) loved ones freak out in the backgrounds. “Does he climb up too high? // Or jump on his bed? // Does he race on his bike with no helmet on head?” (Scansion is a bit of an issue.) Of course not! And though the text says that it will tell readers why, it doesn’t, instead just explaining what the dinos do to stay safe. Among other things, Cearadactylus holds Mama’s hand and crosses with the light, Majungasaurus swims where his papa can see him, Agustinia wears his bike helmet, and Concavenator brings water to drink on long hikes. As in previous outings, Teague’s artwork steals the show, the realism of the scenes and human figures juxtaposed with the giant, though childish, dinos. Labels in the illustrations and endpapers will help dino mavens identify their favorites.

Don’ts and Do’s in a familiar formula go down easily for fans and will provide a good conversation starter for parents. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-439-24104-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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