A cautionary tale for our automating times.

ARNO AND THE MINIMACHINE

Two hundred years from now, young Arno gets bossed around by his personal, wearable MiniMachine automaton. Until he doesn’t.

Everything is regulated in Chwast’s futuristic tale. Arno wakes up in his bed in Happy Family Complex Number 88, just one of 5,183 families living in the bubble-domed, fully automated complex. His personal MiniMachine barks commands at him. “Get up.” “Put on your tan jumpsuit.” (All the boys wear tan jumpsuits; girls wear blue tops and red jumpers.) “Wait for the school jet,” which in Chwast’s stylized, highly entertaining cartoon artwork looks like a helicopter made out of a shoe box—hokey futurism. At school, the robot teacher takes the racially diverse class (Arno is white) on a field trip to the Zoo Garden, where one display is our current age, when “there were many kinds of animals and trees and flowers all over the world.” Arno is smitten by a bird (conveniently labeled) and sneaks it under his cap. Meanwhile, Arno’s MiniMachine continue to make demands: “Play baseball with your friends”—but Arno remembers the bird, which has hurt its wing, so Arno brings it home and cares for it. Arno ignores his MiniMachine until it blows a fuse and Arno is able to enjoy bird song instead. The social commentary is plain as day; whether kids are able to overlook the Jetsons-style doodads to see it is another matter.

A cautionary tale for our automating times. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60980-879-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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An adorable adventure in cartography.

CAMILLA, CARTOGRAPHER

An exercise of spatial thinking through a snowy forest.

Camilla the warthog collects maps. Maps of stars, New York, even the London Tube. She even owns an ancient map of her forest. Unfortunately for her, she believes all lands have been explored and there is nothing new to chart. However, with a snowy morning comes a new opportunity. When her hedgehog neighbor, Parsley, asks for her help in finding the creek, Camilla quivers with excitement when she realizes the snow-covered land “is uncharted territory.” With all landmarks covered in snow, Camilla and Parsley must use their spatial-reasoning skills and a compass to find a new way to the creek. Their trailblazing journey proves a challenge as they keep bumping into trees, rocks, and walls. But when they find the creek, Camilla will have all the information and tools ready to draw out a new map, to break out in case of another snowfall. Wood’s delightful illustrations and Dillemuth’s expertise in the matter engage readers in the woodland creatures’ adventures. In addition, Dillemuth, who holds a doctorate in geography, provides activities in the backmatter for parents and caregivers to help children develop their own spatial-reasoning skills, such as sketching and reading maps or using cardinal directions.

An adorable adventure in cartography. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3033-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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