An engaging blend of history, biography, science, and epidemiology that is sure to inspire and inform.

THANK YOU, DR. SALK!

THE SCIENTIST WHO BEAT POLIO AND HEALED THE WORLD

An unconventional hero puts his skills to work.

Clear, straightforward text and bright, appealing pictures featuring a multiracial cast tell the story of Jonas Salk, Jewish American creator of the polio vaccine, in this timely selection. From childhood, young Jonas saw the effects of polio, and, inspired by the Jewish concept of tikkun olam—translated here as “healing the world”—he set out to make a difference by extensive study and experimentation, even testing his vaccine on himself and his family prior to releasing it to the general population without ever selling it or claiming ownership. Children will easily draw a parallel to Covid-19 and so will be interested in the history as well as the mechanics of vaccines. They may be surprised to see that participating in a vaccination program can inspire pride and a feeling of accomplishment (Salk’s vaccine was initially provided to American first, second, and third graders in a pioneering clinical trial) and be comforted by evidence that an epidemic can be addressed and controlled. A hardworking title, this is a great choice for allaying vaccination fears, communicating the importance of science and medicine, showing that heroes come in many forms, and explaining that education, creativity, resilience, and dedication can lead to achievements and concrete results.

An engaging blend of history, biography, science, and epidemiology that is sure to inspire and inform. (author's note, timeline, resources) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-374-31391-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to.

HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER

Pearl and her robot, Pascal, take their coding skills for a spin at the amusement park in this Girls Who Code picture book, a follow-up to How To Code a Sandcastle (2018).

The park has many rides to choose from, and Pearl has 10 tokens to last her the day. But her favorite ride, the Python roller coaster, looks busy. Pearl decides to do something else fun, using code concepts such as variables to keep track of the length of the line and her remaining tokens and a conditional statement to decide when to return to the Python. Throughout, computer science terms are defined crisply in the text and vividly illustrated in the pictures, which use images such as popcorn bags for variables and the Ferris wheel for loops (keeping track of ice cream flavors seems somewhat contrived). The backmatter explains these ideas more fully. Pascal’s too-literal interpretations of Pearl’s statements make for several amusing moments along the way. When Pearl runs short of tokens (a missed opportunity to talk about checking for more than one condition?), she’s undaunted by the disaster, taking readers on a fun hunt for a secret hidden password, in a nod to the importance of proper sequencing. Pearl has brown skin and black curls; others at the park have a variety of skin tones.

Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-29203-7

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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