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"Smoot," one of two new books by local Berkshires writer Michelle Cuevas.

Book Review: Two new books for young readers by local author Michelle Cuevas

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By Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 Arts & Entertainment

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole

By Michelle Cuevas

2017, Penguin Young Readers Group, $16.99

Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow

By Michelle Cuevas

2017, Penguin Young Readers Group, $17.99

The smashing success of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s newest book, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, makes it clear we’re craving more knowledge of the universe outside our little planet (and during times like these, who can blame us?). Where Tyson’s book filled a need for adults, The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by local author, Michelle Cuevas, offers children the same kind of incredible knowledge, while keeping it packaged in a sweet, hilarious, rollicking adventure for kids.

Stella, a young astronomy buff, is dealing (not very well) with the death of her father, when she discovers a little black hole roaming around her neighborhood! Her attempts to train it and discover what it needs— before it devours the whole town — leads her on an extraordinary journey, both physically and emotionally.

Michelle Cuevas succeeds where so many other children’s authors struggle: in creating a voice for the child protagonist that is very intelligent, funny, and pragmatic, without being unrealistic or annoying. This skill is imperative in the telling of a story that today is disturbingly rare in literature — that of a girl enthusiastic about STEM, and how her adventures with science help her grow as a person.

Author Michelle Cuevas

Cuevas’s spot-on words are often paired with illustrations throughout the text, and in her newest picture book, Smoot, it is precisely that playful interaction of the text and pictures that makes for such an engaging read. Smoot, a boy’s shadow who longs to set out on his own adventures, manages to detach himself one day and takes on making other shadows’ dreams come true, too. Vibrant and joyful, the story will leave young ones’ hearts soaring and feeling that much more confident, capable, and free

Michelle Cuevas, also known for previous works, like The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles and Confessions of an Imaginary Friend, will be at The Bookloft in Great Barrington at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 30th to celebrate the release of these two new books. For information and directions, please consult the Berkshire Edge Calendar.

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