Big Bang!: The Tongue-Tickling Tale of a Speck That Became Spectacular by Carolyn Cinami Decristofano, illus. by Michael Carroll

4 stars! Michael Cooper’s vibrant illustrations add dazzle with images ranging from computer generated to photo-realism to painterly. The text, in part thanks to the author and in part thanks to an art design team that listened, is diverse as well; shapely and colorful, with concrete poetry-like text stretching and growing.

First Son and President: A Story about John Quincy Adams by Beverly Gherman

3 stars!f Describing Quincy as man ahead of his time, Gherman reveals his love for science and abhorrence of slavery that made him unpopular, yet eventually came to pass. No timeline or photos make this a secondary choice for school reports.