A small Brooklyn boy longs to play stickball with the big boys on Bedford Avenue. But he’s not old enough, big enough, or skilled enough. Luke can see the lights of Ebbets Field from his rooftop and hear the sounds of the crowd, maybe cheering for a Jackie Robinson homerun. He can imagine it all happening right there on his roof. Finally he’s asked to join a game, but he strikes out twice. His grandmother surprises him with tickets to the Dodger game, where Robinson really does win it with a home run. After the game, he’s up on the roof and imagines Jackie there, encouraging him to keep on trying. Isadora’s simple tale of love, baseball and determination is delightfully enhanced by her warm, expressive watercolor illustrations. Luke’s wistfulness, despair, dreams and joy glow from every page. Charming and tender. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-399-23604-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2005

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An accessible introduction to coding rules that also easily entertains.


A girl named Pearl programs a (rust-proof) robot to help her build sand castles in this new addition to the Girls Who Code organization’s book program.

The last day of summer vacation is Pearl’s last chance to build a sand castle. All her prior attempts have fallen victim to comic mishaps (such as a “moat” contributed by dog Ada Puglace). For backup, she brings her robot, Pascal, with whom she breaks down the full task—building the sand castle—into small problems: finding a place to build via specific instructions, gathering sand via a sequence (and more efficiently with a loop), and decorating the castle via an IF-THEN-ELSE statement. After she works out the kinks, the oncoming tide throws Pearl for a new loop—literally, as she reuses her previous computer code while adding a moat feature to handle the tide. The cheerful mixed-media illustrations and warm color palette fit both the subject matter and the can-do spirit of the book. The computer science terms are demonstrated in clear, concise ways, allowing them to be mined for humor (such as Pascal’s attempts to place the sand castle in unsuitable places until Pearl learns to be very specific), and serve the story without feeling obtrusive or too much like lessons. The backmatter gives fuller explanations of the terms. Pearl has brown skin and textured, black pigtails, and the other beachgoers are racially diverse.

An accessible introduction to coding rules that also easily entertains. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-29198-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Grace loves to act out her favorite stories, taking every part from Joan of Arc to Mowgli. But when her class learns that they will be doing Peter Pan, the other kids tell Grace she can't have the lead: Peter's neither black nor a girl. Fortunately, Nana and Ma have contagious confidence in Grace's ability, and at the tryouts the class also agrees that Grace is best. It's easy to catch the wholesomely assertive spirit here—as Binch does, in this excellent debut, with her detailed, realistic watercolors; vibrant Grace almost springs from the page. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-8037-1040-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

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