Reviews

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Exoplanets: Worlds Beyond Our Solar System. Twenty-First Century Books, Lerner Publishing, 2017

“Perfect for outer space enthusiasts and out of this world for report writers.” –School Library Journal, January 2017

“An enticing overview of tools, techniques, and discoveries in what the author rightly characterizes ‘a red-hot field in astronomy.’ Readers curious about how researchers could possibly detect such dinky, distant objects as planets belonging to other star systems will come away satisfied and intrigued.”–Kirkus, March 1, 2017

 

 

 

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Science in Action (six-book series). ABDO Publishing, 2016

“Exploring the physics behind things and phenomena that will be familiar to younger students, Kenney ratchets up the level of specific detail. In Color the text doesn’t just explain exactly why the sky is blue but discusses the electromagnetic spectrum, photons, how the eye works, and even why mixed paints darken rather than lighten . . . these are solid informative studies of select but important basic principles. VERDICT Excellent discussions of some of physics’ underlying principles, for serious younger students.“–School Library Journal, April 2016 Series Made Simple supplement

 

RourkebooksYou Have a Pet What?!: Rat and Sugar Glider. Rourke, 2015
STARRED REVIEW
: “After flipping through the utterly adorable full-color photos of cute creatures in the You Have a Pet What?! series, youngsters might want to ditch their doggies and rush to their nearest exotic-pets breeder. . . . Sugar Glider doesn’t soften the realities of owning these delicate creatures: they require several hours of active attention per night. . . . there are enough fascinating and informative facts to keep readers enthralled. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.”–Booklist, August 2015

 

 

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You Have a Pet What?!: Miniature Donkey and Pygmy GoatRourke, 2017
“Young aspiring pet owners looking for something a little out of the ordinary will find plenty of inspiration and realistic guidance in these entries in the You Have A Pet What?! series. . . . The adorable photos of fuzzy-nosed creatures in Miniature Donkey might catapult them to the top of pet wish lists, but be prudent: these animals require companionship and lots of room, and they can live for decades. Pygmy Goat emphasizes the playfulness of these pets as well as their extensive hygiene and space requirements. A note about being a good neighbor—goats are loud and smelly, after all—is particularly helpful. . . . Packed with practical, accessible information and lots of engaging photos, these titles might (rightly) dissuade some eager odd-animal lovers, but readers will come away with plenty of knowledge about each unique creature.”—Booklist, April 2017

 

WWI

Everything World War I. National Geographic Kids, 2014
STARRED REVIEW: “Kenney, along with historian Edward G. Lengel, introduces middle grade students to the key events and major characters of the first modern war in the 20th century. Filled with color and b&w maps, infographics, and behind-the scene photos, the book covers the events that led to war, battlefields, the home front, major personalities, and a reflective afterword which includes an interactive glossary and websites for additional investigation. One of the highlights of this book is the sidebar panels that feature various medals of valor, headgear fashion, and animal soldiers. The panel graphics are so clear and concise, it almost looks as if the reader can touch them and feel the textures and depth. This volume can be read for enjoyment by war enthusiasts, by reluctant readers who prefer nonfiction, and in grade level curriculum. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

–Sabrina Carnesi, Library Media Connection, March/April 2015

StyleSecrets

Hair Care Tips & Tricks and Skin Care & Makeup Tips & Tricks, Lerner Publishing, 2015

“It’s tricky to satisfy readers’ craving for beauty advice without appearing to endorse a particular standard of beauty or placing undue emphasis on appearance. These books incorporate a little science and a lot of good sense along with beauty tips and craft ideas. Skin emphasizes nutrition, sleep, and sunscreen while explaining what vitamin A does for skin and how ultraviolet rays harm it. . . . VERDICT These offerings promote a healthy glow.”–School Library Journal, November 2015

 

aztecAncient Aztecs. ABDO Publishing, 2015

“It’s rare for a series on the ancient world to distinguish itself in such a crowded field, but this set does so with well-documented, comprehensive coverage and a very attractive layout. … Topic coverage is similar to many extant sets, but this set’s readability, contemporary scholarship, and high level of detail and analysis will support advanced-level reports and draw readers. VERDICT Excellent.”–School Library Journal, April 2015

 

l_9781617836275_fcCanada. ABDO Publishing, 2013

“This well-written title provides a comprehensive introduction to Canada, its history, and present-day political challenges.”
–Tamara DePasquale, The Horn Book Guide, Fall 2013

 

KorematsuKorematsu v. the United States. ABDO Publishing, 2012

“Korematsu v. the United States looks at the historical impact of World War II and the internment of Japanese American citizens out of fear and hysteria following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Well written and engaging, the books include details of the case from the beginning to the end, explain how the social and political climate of the day impacted the court rulings, and introduce major participants and other important events happening at the time.”School Library Journal, Jan. 2013

 

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What’s Your Style? series. Lerner Publishing, 2014

“Whether kids need help defining their personal style, cultivating it, or both, the books in the What’s Your Style? series can help. … With hip images and current information, Kenney explores stars to turn to for style inspiration, as well as types of clothes, accessories, and hairstyles to fit the desired style bill. … The design of each title echoes the style presented (batik patterns for boho, for instance), and the information is accessible, helpful, and should inspire kids to express themselves.” —Ann Kelley, Booklist, February 15, 2014

“These books, nominally about exploring fashion identities, will fly off library shelves due to the superabundance of celebrity photos.”  —School Library Journal, April 2014

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Stephen Hawking: Extraordinary Theoretical Physicist
. ABDO Publishing, 2014

“Strong writing is peppered with dramatic details that will bring scientific discoveries to life.” –Jess deCourcy Hinds, School Library Journal, November, 2014

 

 

9780756544874Shop Tech: The Science of Cars. Compass Point Books, 2011

“The titles in this very fine applied science series discuss the scientific principles behind what takes place in each situation, then discuss the how/why of scenarios, suggest science experiments, and identify real-life applications. … This series will be useful for both student research and for students interested in these topics. The science experiments will be useful for classroom instruction. Recommended.”—Library Media Connection, Mar./Apr. 2012, Douglas K. Dillon, Ph.D., Library/Media Specialist.

 

Strength Training for Teen Athletes. Compass Point Books, 2012

“Young athletes will find this a clear and concise introduction to the basics of strength training. The directions are easily understandable—and numbered—and are accompanied by excellent photographs, featuring both female and male athletes. … This will be a great fit for young athletes seeking basic introductions to training and conditioning.”—Booklist

“Regardless of their sport, students will find much to appreciate in these titles. Each volume starts with a brief introduction about the importance of training for continued skill-building and uses real-life examples of Olympic champions and professional players who embody a dedication to proper training. Clear, step-by-step instructions for drills that target specific parts of the body are accompanied by photographs of a male or female teen performing that exercise. . . .”—School Library Journal, Apr. 2012

Cool Parties series. ABDO Publishing, 2011

“This colorful set of six books has a lot of child appeal. The vivid photos and well-organized and readable content provide great springboards for party ideas. While the basics of planning, preparation, and attention to detail are repeated almost verbatim in each volume, the development of the individual themes and clever ideas are what make the titles stand out. Step-by-step crafts, sample menus, and easy-to-replicate games and activities add to the fun. Solid additions that offer sound and practical advice.”School Library Journal, Dec. 2011, Elaine Charnow, Deasy/Landing Elementary Schools, Glen Cove, NY

“The basics of party planning for young hosts are covered, including choosing a theme; making invitations, decora tions, and favors; preparing food; and organizing activities for guests. The essentials of a festive occasion–the “who, what, when, and where of the party”–are engagingly explained, imparting useful information to ensure hosting success. Each book contains additional party theme ideas.” –Paula M. Cairo, The Horn Book Guide, Spring 2012

Cool Hip-Hop Music and Cool Rock Music. ABDO Publishing, 2008

“…Cool Hip-Hop Music is a poetic and carefully crafted look at Hip-Hop culture, art, and music…Each book supplies a wealth of fascinating information to those who are new to the field. Reluctant readers will be attracted to these interesting reads. Recommended.”—Library Media Connection, Nov./Dec. 2008

 

 

Energy. Amicus Publishers, 2010

“’Energy’ is a lead book at reading level 1 of a series on everyday science that will intrigue students in grades K-2. . . .  [It] packs a lot of everyday learning into 26 well-planned pages that also present enjoyment of learning as an integral part of the package.”—Children’s Bookwatch, Feb. 2011, Midwest Book Review

 


Our Animal World Series. Amicus Publishers, 2011

“The Our Animal World series, part of the publisher’s Amicus Readers brand, gives early readers a few simple introductory ideas about different elements of animal life … Animal Tracks is perhaps the most evocative volume, using large, overhead photos to show the strange marks of snakes, turtles, deer, and more, while smaller pictures show the feet responsible for making the tracks. How Animals Hide gets the usual impressive mileage out of photos of stick bugs and katydids, as well as this less-common zebra fact: ‘The pattern of their stripes tricks lions. They cannot pick one zebra from the group.’ Spiny Animals focuses upon the always-photogenic sea urchins, puffer fish, and porcupines. Who Lays Eggs? begins with the “pretty blue eggs” of a robin but will cycle through spiders, crocodiles, and squids before all is said and done. … Also recommended from this series: Animal Homes and Tiny Animals.”—Booklist, Oct. 15, 2011

“These three books are part of the Our Animal World series, a set of six books that introduces young readers to the interesting and unusual world of animals. … The simple text could lead to discussion of questions that can help build a foundation for further learning: such as “Who doesn’t lay eggs?”—Science Books & Films, National Science Teacher’s Association, Robert M. Chute, Bates College, Lewiston, ME


Ellis Island_Ellis Island, Mount Rushmore,
and The White House. Our Nation’s Pride series. ABDO Publishing, 2011.

“Kenney explains the significance of these three sites as national monuments. In Ellis Island, the author describes how the existing island was built up and expanded to accommodate the station to process immigrants coming into the United States and the various buildings that were constructed. In Mount Rushmore, she tells of the sculptor who came to work on the carving, how men were lowered on special harnesses to do the work, and how dynamite specialists and drillers prepared the mountain. In The White House, the author describes how the land was chosen, how the White House was built, the fact that it burned in 1814 and was rebuilt in 1817, and that it takes 570 buckets of white paint to cover the outside. In all three titles, the full-color artwork not only explains the text but also gives almost photographic renderings of the topics. Excellent introductions.School Library Journal, July 2011

Buzz with the Bees. ABDO Publishing, 2011

The busy lives of a variety of common insects are explored in these colorful introductions. …  Younger readers will find Kenney’s simpler, beautifully illustrated titles appealing.”School Library Journal, Jan. 2011

 

 

Skiing & Snowboarding. Girls Play to Win series. Norwood House Press, 2010

**Editor’s Choice, Library Media Connection, 2011**

“Girls play sports too, and the books in this series are about female athletes. Each book starts with an introduction to the sport. Rules are explained, words are defined, and techniques are outlined. A historical chapter follows. It looks at the sport and the role of female athletes in the sport. Pioneers, such as … Gretchen Fraser in skiing, are discussed and their contributions acknowledged. Past, present, and rising stars are given the closing pages of each book, allowing readers to see the faces of the athletes who are making a difference. These books will make excellent resources for research purposes. … Any library seeking books about girls and sports need to look no further than this series. Recommended.”—Library Media Connection, Mar./Apr.  2011

“This book will encourage the reluctant reader to read about the history of snowboarding, famous female athletes of the sport, and the rules of snowboarding.  It would be a great supplement for the Health and Physical Education SOL for grades 6-12.”Richmond Public Schools, Oct. 2011

“Girls Play to Win is a wonderful series highlighting the courageous women who fought their way into the male-dominated world of sports.  Skiing and Snowboarding include how to get started, what to wear, and places to go to become a skier or snowboarder.  This book also includes the fascinating history of how skiing and snowboarding started and the women who have competed and won competitions in these winter sports.  A great series for young girls who are interested in competing or getting started in a sport. Highly Recommended.”Arlington Independent School District, June 2011

Harsh or Heroic: The Middle Ages. Scholastic Library Publishing, 2008

“This series combines exciting text with colorful illustrations and plenty of features to entice even reluctant readers. … Harsh or Heroic features richly illustrated sidebars that explain manor living, castle protection, chivalry, hunting, and medieval jobs. … With the emphasis on fascinating facts, these books would be an excellent resource for supplementary material. They will answer many questions that curious students have. Students will want to read them for fun, too. Recommended.”—Library Media Connection, Apr. 1, 2008

 

Cool Performances series. ABDO Publishing, 2009

Cool Special Effects: How to Stage Your Very Own Show. “With this easy-to-read guide, young techies can create lighting, sound, and special effects for their own productions. Clearly explained terms, specified materials, and step-by-step instructions accompany how-to photos, resulting in handily made effects, such as ‘Glowing Gobos’ and ‘Black Light.’ Part of a six-book series of which Cool Costumes and Cool Makeup (2009) are also particularly useful.”

Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan,Teacher/Director for The Naples Players Kidzact Drama Program. School Library Journal, Aug. 1, 2012

“The skills and crafts demonstrated in this series have application beyond the staging of children’s theatricals. The instructions in Costumes will come in handy any time a child wants to dress up for a performance, a party, or for everyday play. Makeup lists good tips for face painting in general, and Sets & Props includes instructions for turning cardboard boxes into all kinds of fun structures. Simple language, colorful page design, and detailed step-by-step photos invite children to gather some easily available household items, apply paint and some imagination, and put on a play–or just play.”

School Library Journal, Nov. 1, 2009

“Ah, those hilarious, boring, and/or befuddling plays put on entirely by kids—what would growing up be without them? The Cool Performances series offers six titles on all aspects of mounting a production, from costumes to makeup to (uh-oh) special effects. This volume focuses on the primarily cardboard and paper objects that motivated youngsters can turn into backdrops, set pieces, and props. Photo examples set the bar high (though many are achievable), and the text breaks down the creation process into bite-size chunks. It’s fairly challenging stuff, but the information is metered out so efficiently that patience, not artistic ability, will be the key to success. “Believable Backdrops” is the best chapter for getting the biggest wow-factor from the least amount of labor. But there are plenty of other projects here, too: poster-board wands, tissue-paper bouquets, tinfoil cutlasses, and plenty of set pieces starring the cardboard box. “—Booklist, Dec. 15, 2009

Illegal Immigration. Essential Library, ABDO Publishing, 2007

“This book is a desirable addition to the high school library. It is written in a straightforward matter, with bulleted significant details. History of the issue along with a multiplicity of viewpoints that are often presented in sidebar quotes, statistics or summary statements are included. The photos and illustrations are appropriate and help the reader understand the issue. The considerable timeline helps students understand the historical significance and how immigration has evolved in the United States. In addition the “Essential Facts” encapsulate the issue, the critical dates and the critical quotes that exemplify illegal immigration as a contemporary problem facing our country.”—Lincoln Public Schools Library Media Services Department, Mar. 2011

“Balanced overviews of complex, divisive issues. Though not exhaustive, these titles include the topic’s history and most salient points in an accessible and reader-friendly format. … Illegal Immigration‘s opening chapter begins with 2006 Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids and closes with questions about how illegal immigration impacts the U.S. economy and culture. Subsequent chapters address the history of U.S. immigration, crime and drugs, costs, labor concerns, border security, and proposals for reform. … These impressive works are welcome alternatives to collection staples such as books in the “Current Controversies” and “Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints” (both Gale) series (both geared to a slightly older audience).”School Library Journal, June 2008