cover image Hooray for DNA! How a Bear and a Bug Are a Lot Like Us

Hooray for DNA! How a Bear and a Bug Are a Lot Like Us

Pauline Thompson, illus. by Greg Pizzoli. Knopf, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-5934-2704-0

“DNA is the ABC/ of what makes you, you/ and what makes me, me” opens debut author Thompson in this vigorously rhyming celebration of “the set of instructions/ for all life constructions.” Though text largely eschews scientific detail throughout, instead underscoring a message of connection, a high-level explanation summarizes that “DNA builds life with/ four chemical bricks.” Moreover, because “our shared DNA bricks/ make us related,” humans are “part beagle/ and a soaring bald eagle,” and even the seemingly vast variety within our own species is really the result of infinitesimal DNA differences—“Put aside language,/ and culture, and race./ It’s a DNA speck that/ gives you your face.” Digitally finished signature cartoons from Pizzoli (Pizza! A Slice of History) visualize a classroom filled with children portrayed as having various skin tones, where the hands-on learning is nonstop: kids build a DNA helix out of Lego, illustrate the idea of shared DNA by creating a hybrid critter, and commune with classroom animals. It’s a peppy, approachable intro to a big topic, best suited to the younger end of the target audience. Back matter offers more scientific detail. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Stacey Kondla, Rights Factory. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)