Youth services book review reviews of current nonfiction, fiction, and picture books by massachusetts librarians! gas vs diesel truck


What did you like about the book? I always loved Rube Goldberg’s cartoons as a kid and was excited to learn more about his life and work, of which I knew absolutely nothing. Handsome endpapers show 8 original gas outage Goldberg machines, such as the Umbrella Alarm and the Simple Mosquito Exterminator (which is anything BUT simple, of course.) We learn how young Reuben dreamed of being a cartoonist, but went instead to engineering school to please his immigrant parents. A very clever illustration shows Goldberg as a young, dejected professional trudging through a maze of San Francisco sewers. As the text snakes through the pipes, young readers will begin to see where the cartoonist got his inspiration. He eventually decides he must follow his dreams and heads to New York where his talent and grit end up making him a successful artist. I liked Neubecker gas density’s simplified and enlarged versions of Professor Butts’ crazy contraptions, which would be easy for children to puzzle out and unravel.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I wondered why Goldberg’s cartoon inventions gas and electric phone number were so popular and would have liked to see the author put forth a theory. As always, picture books about writers, artists or thinkers lack the visual drama of books on athletes or adventurers and so this book is short on action. I appreciated the effort put in to the back matter but it left me with questions. Aronson writes that Goldberg received so many death mp electricity bill payment jabalpur threats during WWII that he had to change his name to George — what had he done to cause this vitriol? Although I loved the end papers and the chance to see his actual cartoons, I’m not sure how I would tape a book jacket down without covering the drawings.

What did you like about the book? A handsome, appealing, solid little book crammed full of information and high quality black-and-white photos, diagrams, primary sources, an index and a bibliography. Brouwer focuses on Apollo 11 as the end result of a giant effort not only by NASA, but by all the great thinkers, inventors and explorers who contributed to its successful mission. Copernicus, Tycho Brahe wd gaster cosplay tutorial and Kepler are shoehorned into the beginning of the story, Newton shows up in the middle and by the end we’ve also learned about George de Mestral (invented Velcro) and Robert Goddard (father of American rocketry.) I now know that it was Wernher von Braun’s brother Magnus who successfully surrendered to Allied troops and tipped the balance of the space race by bringing the Saturn gas 91 V team to the U.S.

Anything you didn’t like about it? It’s written entirely in a chatty, 2nd person, “choose your own adventure” style, which I found both tiresome and confusing. Brouwer pops questions into the text gas pains 6 weeks pregnant and then doesn’t get around to his revelations quickly enough. By the time I found out the answer, I had often lost track of the original query! The decision to break from a chronological story might have seemed like fun, but I found his departures to travel back in time to talk about science history jarring. The subjects that attract the author’s attention don’t necessarily illuminate. What’s Einstein doing in his 2 page spread that sheds any light on Apollo 11? Beats me. Think JFK’s challenge to the nation to land a man on the moon deserves some attention? I do, but it’s only mentioned briefly at the end of the book. Also, although I liked the stylistic idea of the black-and-white photos electricity freedom system, this means we miss out on the iconic “Earthrise” image.

What did you like about the book? This sensitive and lovely picture book tells the story of Lou’s two grandfathers: Grandad, a retired engineer, and Pops, an elderly rock-n-roller. The grandpas are night and day, with Grandad eating toast for breakfast while Pops prefers sugary cereals. But, every Saturday, they take Lou to the library together, and afterwards, while electricity experiments Pops naps, Lou and Grandad build wonderful Rube Goldberg contraptions out of paper tubes, string and tape. Smith gently electricity dance moms song reveals the truth to adult and sensitive child readers: Pops is fragile and Grandad is his caretaker. One day, despite Grandad and Lou’s great care, Pops slips and takes a bad fall. Kerrigan’s digital art marries perfectly with Kerrigan’s text; as “sirens ring in Lou’s ears” and the ambulance takes Pops to the hospital, Grandad and Lou huddle together under a huge grey umbrella as rain tumbles down all around. An empty chair in front of a juice glass festooned with a jaunty paper umbrella, surrounded by three la gas leak sad faces (Lou, Grandad and a dog) tells us that weeks have passed and that Pops doesn’t have the energy to return to his old life. But Lou has a wonderful contraption in mind to cheer him up and of course, it works perfectly. I loved that even though this is a picture book with a purpose, it never feels heavy-handed or boring.

To whom would you recommend this book? It’s definitely a teaching book, about growing old, being a caretaker, but also about same-sex marriage. Although it’s not a book I can see children choosing over flashier titles about dinosaurs or unicorns, I think grade 6 electricity experiments they would be instantly drawn in by the warmth and love that binds these three characters together.