Readers may pick up a few “factoroids” along the way, but more systematic tours are available for the booking.

PROFESSOR ASTRO CAT'S ATOMIC ADVENTURE

From the Professor Astro Cat series

Space-suited science guide Astro Cat leads a tour of physics, from molecules to the multiverse.

The itinerary is broad but wanders all over the map. With Astro Mouse as sidekick and cameos from a supporting cast of animals and famous scientists, the fulsome feline begins with a description of how gravity works. The tour goes on with only occasional stabs at a logical order to cover the scientific method, a select few units of measurement, atomic structure, the periodic table, states of matter (the three classical ones, anyway), Newton’s laws of motion, light, electricity, quarks, dark energy, and a bagful of other topics. Similarly, the blocks of narrative and Newman’s retro-style cartoon figures are pieced together in assemblages of neatly rectilinear but hard-to-follow segments on the large, square pages. As explainers Walliman and Newman are anything but cool cats (atoms are “crazy small!”). If the language sometimes ventures into problematic territory—“Gravity is smaller on the Moon”; “The little 2 [in E=mc2] means you have to times everything by the speed of light twice”—at least their enthusiasm for exploring our “Strange Universe” comes through warmly enough to be contagious. A closing spread of miscellaneous “Factoroids” closes with an oratorical signoff: “KNOWLEDGE AWAITS!”

Readers may pick up a few “factoroids” along the way, but more systematic tours are available for the booking. (glossary/index) (Informational picture book. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-909263-60-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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A quiet reminder that the stars are not out of reach, with work and well-timed help.

CLEAR SKIES

Increasingly severe symptoms of claustrophobia threaten to derail 11-year-old Arno’s dreams of becoming an astronomer.

It’s 1961, the space race is on, and it seems everyone has stars in their eyes. Being a confirmed sky watcher with an eye-rolling habit of rattling off astro-facts at the drop of a hat, Arno is at first over the moon when he wins an invitation to the opening of a new observatory nearby. But then the thought of the dark and the crowds—and a panic attack in a movie theater—dim all the claustrophobic boy’s hopes. At the same time Arno’s friend Buddy finds his own hopes of becoming an astronaut dashed after he realizes why he can’t see that Mars is red. Though their personalities clash by day, a confessional nighttime meeting in Arno’s backyard brings out their better natures, as Arno offers Buddy telescopic views of astronomical wonders, and Buddy suggests coping techniques for Arno drawn from the astronaut-training program. Budding chemist Mindy leads a supporting cast that, like the protagonist and his family, defaults to white. Writing in a believably childlike third-person, Kerrin adds period details and handwritten pages of “Deep Thoughts” from Arno’s astronomy notebook to her low-key tale, and she closes with notes on the space program’s later history…including a mention of Roger Crouch, a colorblind payload specialist.

A quiet reminder that the stars are not out of reach, with work and well-timed help. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77306-240-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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SNOW DAY

Peddle debuts with a small, wordless epiphany that flows like an animated short. A low winter sun first lights a child building a snowman, then, after a gloriously starry night, returns to transform it—to melt it. Leaving most of each page untouched, Peddle assembles a minimum of accurately brushed pictorial elements for each scene: the builder; the snow figure; their lengthening shadows; the rising sun’s coruscating circle in the penultimate picture; a scatter of sticks, coal, and a carrot in the final one. Most children will still prefer The Snowy Day, but others may find layers of meaning beneath the story’s deceptive simplicity. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-385-32693-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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