Not a high-octane outing, but it could fill in some background for curious would-be motorists just out of their car seats.

CARS

From the AllAbout series

Pull tabs and other special effects rev up this look at the lives of cars, from factory to junkyard.

The book opens with a sparse “museum” of early autos and closes with a visit to a Formula 1 racetrack. In between, single-topic spreads take generic automobiles from design lab to dealer, supply glimpses of a dashboard and beneath the hood, then go on to show what happens at a repair shop, a service station, and a car wash. Moving elements, one or two per page, are fairly sturdy and relatively varied—ranging from large flaps to geared wheels, tabs, and slots that work a hydraulic lift or allow a wreck to be hauled aboard a tow truck. In Hardenberg’s translation from the French, Krasinski’s simply phrased labels and commentary incorporate some distinctive vocabulary: “prototype,” “exhaust pipe,” “pre-owned.” Though hybrid, electric, and driverless cars receive nods, the focus throughout is mainly on traditional gas guzzlers. Latyk darkens the skin of some of the stylized human figures in his simple illustrations, but like the cars on display, most are small on the page and generic of feature.

Not a high-octane outing, but it could fill in some background for curious would-be motorists just out of their car seats. (Informational novelty. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-790-4

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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An interesting thought experiment, but it doesn’t quite take off.

KNOWING THE NAME OF A BIRD

What’s in a name? The characteristics of a bird cannot be conveyed by the names we give them—or by words in general.

According to Yolen, birds are given both scientific and popular names, such as robin, hawk, peacock, or swan, but neither name captures anything about what the bird is really like. The individuality of a bird, such as its color, or more tactile qualities, such as “The dinosaur feet, / crooked and brown, / or the talons with / nails as hard as / an old man’s,” are not conveyed by the name we give it. A bird’s name can’t convey its movement in space or the drama of a peacock’s outspread tail or the nature of its flight or even if it flies at all. (Picture the emu or the ostrich.) A concluding quote from noted physicist Richard Feynman sums it up: “You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing about the bird.” The idea is interesting, and van der Linde’s illustrations are clean, clear, and attractive, but in exploring negation the text offers little for curious, concrete-thinking young readers. It’s thematically consistent but also maddening that the book doesn’t consistently identify the birds pictured. The closing note discusses recording bird song but then shrugs away the value of those recordings. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.8-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 54.3% of actual size.)

An interesting thought experiment, but it doesn’t quite take off. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-56846-349-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Nevertheless, if strictly factual representation of the actual construction process isn’t important, the hard-hatted action...

THIS IS THE CONSTRUCTION WORKER

As this book opens, a construction worker gears up to start her day.

She and her crew operate heavy equipment, jackhammers, and other power tools as they build a skyscraper. The hubbub on the site is broken down into rhyming units of activity with a “House That Jack Built” beat: “This is the scaffold / that reaches the sky. / This is the clang / and the bang / and the cry—.” At the end of the productive day, the tired workers jump into their crew-cab pickup and carpool home. Unfortunately, Godwin’s verses waver from snappy to tongue-tripping: “This is the grind of the gears / and the smell of the diesel and oil. / These are the shouts and the cheers. / This is the sound of the toil.” Hector’s illustrations depict a diverse crew (the protagonist has brown skin and fluffy black hair) and showcase enough heavy equipment to give young construction buffs a charge. However, his details are at odds with reality. The story opens with the first four floors of a high-rise in progress, but at the end of the day there are 19 stories! One scene shows workers hammering nails into what appear to be steel vertical beams—a miracle if they succeed. The building is slowly going up, but a worker is inexplicably using a jackhammer on one of the newly poured slabs.

Nevertheless, if strictly factual representation of the actual construction process isn’t important, the hard-hatted action should please aficionados. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-01817-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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