Delightful, motivating, and thought-provoking—a winner for any bookshelf.

ROBO-MOTION

ROBOTS THAT MOVE LIKE ANIMALS

Discover the natural inspirations behind robotic creations.

All engineers have to start somewhere, and this book may be the dawning impetus for future roboticists. The design is simple but effective: The verso page introduces a mammal, bird, aquatic creature, or insect and defines one of its notable characteristics in a sentence. The recto then provides more detailed information about a robot or robotic prototype influenced by that feature. Both pages present a photograph of the creature and robot, allowing readers to compare the animal and the machine. A plethora of vocabulary words fill each page: “Animals are motion masters. They skitter, scuttle, grip, glide, spring, cling, and more.” The paragraph explaining the robotics provides opportunities for educators and caregivers to promote learning, in terms of current world events as well as the obvious information about animals and robotics. Why do we need robots that can inspect disaster sites or report on tides and weather? The bright, full-color photographs will play well to the back of a classroom or storytime, allowing a range of readers a chance to consider the robotic world. Impressive backmatter includes a glossary, additional information on biomimicry, and a current bibliography to guide further learning.

Delightful, motivating, and thought-provoking—a winner for any bookshelf. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8126-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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