Long for a sustained read-through but rich in tantalizing tidbits for young globe-trotters.


For armchair travelers, quick flits through the countries of the world (plus a few extras), with keepsake snippets of facts, foods, or festivals for each.

After rightly acknowledging at the outset that the notion of country is a fuzzy one, Fullman proceeds on by continent to alight in 199 of them, adding Antarctica and a roundup of territories at the end. Steering clear of almanac-style barrages of descriptions and statistics, he supplies just a flag and location map for each half- to two-page entry, five “key” facts, and a handful of observations. Most of the last focus on distinctive celebrations, street food, wildlife, or natural wonders, but the author isn’t shy about referring to recent civil wars and ongoing political tensions either. If a stop in “Israel and the Palestinian Territories” or his failure to mention that Vietnam was once two countries rub some older readers the wrong way, younger ones will more likely zero in on how people in Caracas roller-skate to church during the Christmas season; that Bolivia has 37 official languages (while the U.S. has none); or, in contrast to Belgium’s “drool-worthy” cuisine, hákarl (fermented shark served in Iceland) “has a very powerful ammonia-like taste (apparently).” Overall the content is remarkably reliable. Underscoring frequent nods to the racial and ethnic diversity of populations in many locales, the small human figures that Blake scatters among her stylized vignettes are mostly dark-skinned.

Long for a sustained read-through but rich in tantalizing tidbits for young globe-trotters. (index, glossary) (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-913519-47-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Welbeck Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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A sketchy teaser in search of an audience.


From the Eddie the Electron series , Vol. 2

A subatomic narrator describes how helium, a nonrenewable resource, is formed deep underground.

The very simple cartoon style of the illustrations suggests a breezier ride than the scientifically challenging content delivers. With much reliance on explanatory endnotes, Rooney sends her zippy narrator—newly freed from a popped balloon (see Eddie the Electron, 2015)—barreling its way past billions of nitrogen and oxygen atoms to the top of the atmosphere. Eddie describes how uranium and thorium trapped in the newly formed planet’s crust self-destructed to leave helium as a stable byproduct. Billions of tedious years later (“I thought I would die of pair annihilation!”) that helium was extracted for a wide variety of industrial uses. Following mentions of Einstein and how Eddie is mysteriously connected to other atoms “in a way that surpasses space and time,” the popeyed purple particle floats off with a plea to cut down on the party balloons to conserve a rare element. Younger readers may find this last notion easier to latch onto than the previous dose of physics, which is seriously marred both by the vague allusions and by Eddie’s identification as a helium atom rather than the free electron that his portrayals in the art, not to mention his moniker, indicate.

A sketchy teaser in search of an audience. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-944995-14-0

Page Count: 27

Publisher: Amberjack Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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


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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