Delightful, motivating, and thought-provoking—a winner for any bookshelf.

ROBO-MOTION

ROBOTS THAT MOVE LIKE ANIMALS

Discover the natural inspirations behind robotic creations.

All engineers have to start somewhere, and this book may be the dawning impetus for future roboticists. The design is simple but effective: The verso page introduces a mammal, bird, aquatic creature, or insect and defines one of its notable characteristics in a sentence. The recto then provides more detailed information about a robot or robotic prototype influenced by that feature. Both pages present a photograph of the creature and robot, allowing readers to compare the animal and the machine. A plethora of vocabulary words fill each page: “Animals are motion masters. They skitter, scuttle, grip, glide, spring, cling, and more.” The paragraph explaining the robotics provides opportunities for educators and caregivers to promote learning, in terms of current world events as well as the obvious information about animals and robotics. Why do we need robots that can inspect disaster sites or report on tides and weather? The bright, full-color photographs will play well to the back of a classroom or storytime, allowing a range of readers a chance to consider the robotic world. Impressive backmatter includes a glossary, additional information on biomimicry, and a current bibliography to guide further learning.

Delightful, motivating, and thought-provoking—a winner for any bookshelf. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8126-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention.

OUR PLANET! THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE EARTH

From the Our Universe series , Vol. 6

The sixth in McAnulty’s Our Universe series focuses on Earth’s human-caused problems, offering some family-level activities for mitigation.

Vivaciously narrated by “Planet Awesome,” the text establishes facts about how Earth’s location with regard to the sun allows life to flourish, the roles of the ocean and atmosphere, and the distinctions between weather and climate. McAnulty clearly explains how people have accelerated climate change “because so many human things need energy.” Soft-pedaling, she avoids overt indictment of fossil fuels: “Sometimes energy leads to dirty water, dirty land, and dirty air.” Dire changes are afoot: “Some land is flooding. Other land is too dry—and hot. YIKES! Not good.” “And when I’m in trouble, Earthlings are in trouble, too.” Litchfield’s engaging art adds important visual information where the perky text falls short. On one spread, a factory complex spews greenhouse gases in three plumes, each identified by the chemical symbols for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Throughout, planet Earth is appealingly represented with animated facial features and arms—one green, one blue. The palette brightens and darkens in sync with the text’s respective messages of hope and alarm. Final pages introduce alternative energy sources—wind, hydro, solar, and “human power—that’s from your own two feet.” Lastly, Earth provides excellent ideas for hyperlocal change, from buying less new stuff to planting trees. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention. (author’s note, numerical facts, atmospheric facts, ideas for action, sources) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-78249-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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