THE TORNADO WATCHES

In the second story about these siblings, a tornado warning sends Ike, his parents, and younger sister Mem to the basement. When the all clear is given and everyone goes to bed, Ike is worried that with the TV turned off, they won’t know if a tornado is approaching. So he puts the portable TV in bed with him and stays up all night watching movies to be on the alert. The next two nights of tornado watches result in Ike falling asleep at school, sleeping through dinner, and his mother taking him to the doctor. On the fourth night, Ike conks out during his watch and, in fact, a tornado does hit, blowing the roof off his best friend’s house next door. He wakes up in the basement, where his parents, obviously on the alert, have taken the family again. An image of the moon as an eye, watching and waiting for Ike to go to sleep adds a nice child-like touch, but it’s hard to guess exactly what is intended here. Reassurance? Well, maybe, but a tornado isn’t quite so quiet an experience as this. Unfortunately, the pen-and-ink drawings from Alter, who also illustrated the first in the series (The Bird Shadow, 2001), are uninspired and add nothing to the story. The short episode format (no chapter headings) will appeal to the first-chapter set and the third in the series is scheduled for 2003. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2002

ISBN: 0-8234-1672-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2002

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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A launch-pad fizzle.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF SPACE

Flaps and pull-tabs in assorted astro-scenes reveal several wonders of the universe as well as inside glimpses of observatories, rockets, a space suit, and the International Space Station.

Interactive features include a spinnable Milky Way, pop-up launches of Ariane and Soyuz rockets, a solar-system tour, visits to the surfaces of the moon and Mars, and cutaway views beneath long, thin flaps of an international array of launch vehicles. Despite these bells and whistles, this import is far from ready for liftoff. Not only has Antarctica somehow gone missing from the pop-up globe, but Baumann’s commentary (at least in Booker’s translation from the French original) shows more enthusiasm than strict attention to accuracy. Both Mercury and Venus are designated “hottest planet” (right answer: Venus); claims that there is no gravity in space and that black holes are a type of star are at best simplistic; and “we do not know what [other galaxies] actually look like” is nonsensical. Moreover, in a clumsy attempt to diversify the cast on a spread about astronaut training, Latyk gives an (evidently) Asian figure caricatured slit eyes and yellow skin.

A launch-pad fizzle. (Informational pop-up picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 979-1-02760-197-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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