TREASURE MAP

“Mapping” is the focus of this Level 3 title in Stuart’s popular MathStart series. The Elm Street Kids’ Club finds an old map leading to a buried time capsule; full-bleed illustrations appear throughout as the children follow the map’s clues. Leave it to Tusa, though, to add to the story as the presence of a giant (legs sticking out from under the map; disappearing into a door in the hill; face peering over the landscape) suggests something else is up. The clues, however, don’t require much mathematical thinking at all. “Walk 125 steps” is about as math-oriented as they get, though they do double the number later. Although sections of the map are occasionally enlarged, readers really can’t follow along even to test their skills of turning left or right or noting where the symbols lie without going back to the second page. As a stand-alone story, this one is weak, made appealing by Tusa’s fancy. A few mapping activities are included in the back that prove the most useful aspect of this questionable purchase. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-028036-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2004

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For all its brevity, chockablock with philosophical topics to ponder and debate.

SQUARE

From the Shape Trilogy series

In the wake of Triangle (2017), a further raft of ontological posers in stripped-down geometric garb.

Square, an unreflective sort, regards hauling large cubes of rock from the depths of his secret cave to a hilltop every day as his “work.” He is set to a new task, though, after Circle praises him as a “sculptor” and a “genius,” then commissions a portrait. Cluelessly setting to with a hammer and chisel to carve a “perfect” representation of Circle from a stone block, Square is left at the end of the day in the middle of a ring of rubble. Despairingly, he falls asleep as rain begins to fall. Next morning the despair is still there—so when Circle floats up and sees her reflection in the puddle that’s accumulated overnight her response is unexpected: “It is perfect,” she says. “You are a genius.” Barnett’s closing “But was he really?” leaves readers (those who have the appropriate patience and experience, anyway) to judge for themselves. Square’s downcast eyes as he looks at his own reflection in the puddle heighten the ambiguity. With typically deceptive minimalism Klassen places a few flat, blocky shapes on the white pages to suggest the physical landscape, angling Square’s body and glance to convey the emotional one. Humor is in the details: a bit of twig that catches on harried Square’s head and stays there; the shadow that appears beneath Circle as she floats along through the air.

For all its brevity, chockablock with philosophical topics to ponder and debate. (Picture book. 10-adult)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9607-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative,...

THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER

From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 1

Can this really be the first time readers meet the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County? Cousins and veteran sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston show us that we are the ones who are late to their greatness.

These two black boys are coming to terms with the end of their brave, heroic summer at Grandma’s, with a return to school just right around the corner. They’ve already got two keys to the city, but the rival Epic Ellisons—twin sisters Wiki and Leen—are steadily gaining celebrity across Logan County, Virginia, and have in hand their third key to the city. No way summer can end like this! These young people are powerful, courageous, experienced adventurers molded through their heroic commitment to discipline and deduction. They’ve got their shared, lifesaving maneuvers committed to memory (printed in a helpful appendix) and ready to save any day. Save the day they must, as a mysterious, bendy gentleman and an oversized, clingy platypus have been unleashed on the city of Fry, and all the residents and their belongings seem to be frozen in time and place. Will they be able to solve this one? With total mastery, Giles creates in Logan County an exuberant vortex of weirdness, where the commonplace sits cheek by jowl with the utterly fantastic, and populates it with memorable characters who more than live up to their setting.

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative, thrill-seeking readers, this is a series to look out for. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-46083-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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