Hot molten rock and deadly poison gas slowly
gave way to cooler temperatures, water, and
breathable air. Brilliantly colored illustra-
tions spilling across two-page spreads trace
the history of the planet as small sea creatures
appear, then land animals, and, a long time
later, humans. Rendered in ink, collage, and
digital media, the pictures have a slightly sur-
realistic quality to them that contributes to an
overall tone of wonder at what has transpired.
The book works on several levels. With a
simple, poetic text, it is entertaining and visu-
ally appealing enough to hold the attention of
younger readers. The “Look Again” section at
the end offers a chance to revisit each spread,
focusing on the scientific concepts at a higher
level. Finally, a glossary, author’s note, and list
of sources provides an opportunity for build-
ing on the basic information. Beautiful and
thought-provoking, this nonfiction picture
book has a great deal to offer. Pair it with Jason
Chin’s Island: A Story of the Galápagos (2012)
for even more context. —Lucinda Whitehurst
The World Is Not a Rectangle: A
Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid.
By Jeanette Winter. Illus. by the
Aug. 2017. 56p. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane, $17.99
(9781481446693); e-book, $17.99 (9781481446709).
720.92. K–Gr. 3.
Iranian architect Zaha Hadid drew in-
spiration for her designs from the natural
world, which she famously stated “is not
a rectangle.” As a
result, her build-
ings swoop, curve,
twist, and flow.
Winter opens with
an overview of Za-
ha’s childhood and
tion to the ruins, deserts, and marshes she
visited with her father during her youth,
because these are the sites that sparked her
passion for design and her unique style.
Winter does an excellent job of utiliz-
ing double-page spreads to link several of
Zaha’s famous buildings with the object
or vista upon which they were modeled.
A simple seashell transforms into a sports
stadium; marsh grasses inspire a cluster of
kinked apartment towers; the galaxy’s whirl-
ing stars are reflected in a building’s curves
and swirls. Winter’s illustrations utilize
cool pastel tones and seamlessly integrate
Zaha’s buildings—and later her fashion and
furniture designs—with nature, perfectly
reflecting the architect’s organic design phi-
losophy. Readers will also come away with a
firm sense of Zaha’s tenacity and determina-
tion as she refuses to be held back by her
ethnicity, gender, or unconventional ideas.
The book closes with a guide to the build-
ings featured in the story, noteworthy quotes
from Zaha, and a short bio. A fantastically
crafted picture-book biography of a woman
deserving of recognition. —Julia Smith
Cap’n Rex and His Clever Crew.
By Henry L. Herz. Illus. by Benjamin
Aug. 2017. 32p. Sterling, $16.95 (9781454920885).
Cap’n Rex and his dinosaur crew are
searching for treasure, as pirates do. A
megalodon bites off the ship’s rudder, but
a brachiosaurus tail makes a serviceable replacement. A pterodactyl looks for land by
flying above an enveloping fog, and an an-kylosaurus uses his special attributes to dig
up the gold. Meanwhile, Rex helps his group
develop problem-solving skills and praises
their clever solutions. The message about
perseverance and creative thinking is stronger
than the actual story, but the overall premise
is made more fun by combining pirates and
dinosaurs, two perennial storytime favorites.
Cartoonish illustrations feature thick, solid
colors and a mix of textures. The palette shifts
according to the dinosaurs’ environment,
which provides visual clues to the story’s pro-
gression. The crew demonstrates that they
have learned the lessons well when they out-
smart Rex at the end, making sure that he
shares the treasure. The author includes a list
of “piratey words” to be sure readers under-
stand everything in the story and to possibly
inspire them toward their own fantasy adven-
tures. —Lucinda Whitehurst
A Different Pond.
By Bao Phi. Illus. by Thi Bui.
Aug. 2017. 32p. Capstone, $15.95 (9781623708030).
Before dawn, a Vietnamese American man
and his young son set out to fish for their supper in a nearby lake. As they travel the lamp-lit
streets, build a small fire, and drop their hook
into the water, the little
boy contemplates his
parents’ lives, the everyday task of fishing for
their supper, and the
stories they’ve told him
about living in Vietnam before coming to
America as refugees. Phi’s
bittersweet story of the resourcefulness of an
immigrant family is lovingly illustrated in Bui’s
evocative artwork. Her expressive ink-black
brushstrokes stand out against a background
of star-speckled, crepuscular blues, and at poignant moments in Phi’s story, she movingly
homes in on the facial expressions of the boy
and his father. While the story occasionally
hints at painful things, the gravity of those
events is depicted in the emotional reactions
of the characters in the present, rather than
images of war in the past. The boy’s father has
fond memories of Vietnam, heartbreak for the
people he lost in the war, and gratitude for the
opportunities afforded to him in the U.S., all
of which the boy silently internalizes into both
appreciation for his life and curiosity about a
place he’s never been. This wistful, beautifully
illustrated story will resonate not only with
immigrant families but any family that has
faced struggle. —Sarah Hunter
I Love You like a Pig.
By Mac Barnett. Illus. by Greg Pizzoli.
Sept. 2017. 40p. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $17.99
(9780062354839). PreS–Gr. 2.
“How do I love thee? Let me count the
ways” is given a juvenile twist as Pizzoli and
Barnett team up for another wonky winner.
The bright digital illustrations pop with polka
dots and sound bites as three children discuss
how many ways they feel affection for each
other. Happy oinks intersperse the pages as the
children try to define their fondness: “I love
you like a pig.” Other kooky reactions come
up: the kids are happy like a monster, smiling
like a tuna, funny like a fossil, or crazy like
raspberries. “Lucky like a window” shows a
pig and a little girl munching on big pieces of
pie, which had been cooling in an open window. But always, the oinks return. The simple
line drawings, the generous white space, and
the diverse faces of the children and funny
animals brighten the message with the accessible illustrations. A quirky, nutty salute to
the many moments of emotions, and a fun
read-aloud as children ponder the silliness
surrounding true friendship. —Lolly Gepson
Continued from p. 64
NEW by Demi
Take your child on an
exciting journey across
the globe to celebrate the
life of prayer shared by all
the world’s religions.
$17.95, Available September 2017