Kids interested in cities and transport as well as fans of Richard Scarry–like busyness will be busy with this book for many...

THE WAY DOWNTOWN

ADVENTURES IN PUBLIC TRANSIT

Zoom is an imaginary, probably North American city with a diverse population and many public-transportation options.

Among its inhabitants and visitors are: four didgeridoo-playing street-performing siblings called the Zanies; Robbie, a first-grade photographer visiting his aunt; Agent Rybka, a white spy; Boris, a guide dog who leads his blind friend, Guy; and scientist Dr. Brody. Agent Rybka, Dr. Brody, and Guy all appear to be white; the Zanies and Robbie have brown skin. The named characters take various forms of transportation to their destination: Great Park. Dr. Brody takes a ferry to work with bike rides bookending the short voyage. Bike lanes and the bike-sharing system are explained. Robbie and his aunt take the bus to the subway. Agent Rybka, eluding people, takes an unusual route involving railroad trains and subways. The Zanies use their unicycles and the subway. They explain tickets and transit passes. Boris and Guy ride the light rail (defined in the extensive glossary), which has a Braille schedule. Everyone arrives in the park, including two strange creatures discovered by Dr. Brody in China. Very busy pen-and-ink–and-digital illustrations in a naïve style include maps, flow charts showing each character’s itinerary, cartoon panels (with speech balloons), and large double-page spreads. Lots of labeling and funny details keep readers poring over the pictures and make this book best for small groups or individual use. The text sometimes attempts too much in its complicated interweaving of human stories and transportation systems, but there’s much useful information to be absorbed.

Kids interested in cities and transport as well as fans of Richard Scarry–like busyness will be busy with this book for many readings. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77138-552-7

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A blast from the past, sure to transport fans of all things big and loud.

JUMBO

In a properly lap- and eye-filling format (it has a 2-foot wingspan), a soaring tribute to the “Queen of the Skies.”

Following Go for the Moon (2019), Gall pays homage to another outsize triumph of engineering wizardry and industrial might. A mammoth machine two and a half times larger than any other jet liner of its time, Boeing’s 747 is so big, he claims, that the Wright brothers could have made their entire first flight in its fuselage without leaving the coach section. It debuted in 1968 and, though now retired from domestic use, is still the fastest commercial passenger plane in the world. Drawn with Gall’s customary clean precision, a mix of dramatically angled full-body portraits, glimpses of workers in a gigantic assembly plant, cutaway views of cockpit and spacious seating areas, detailed sectional diagrams of wings and engines, and flocks of smaller aircraft from a paper plane to a suddenly dinky-seeming 737 combine to underscore the scope of the technological achievement as well as both the sheer scale of the jet and of the effort that went into building it. There is also a dream-come-true element, as a red-haired, pale-skinned child frequenting the pictures through each stage of the leviathan’s design and assembly makes a final appearance in the pilot’s seat and turns out to be Lynn Rippelmeyer, the first woman to captain a 747. Clad in late-20th-century attire, the small human figures clustering throughout add a sense of period but are nearly all White.

A blast from the past, sure to transport fans of all things big and loud. (glossary, source list, “fun facts,” afterword) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-15580-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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