An energetic and literary introduction to water science by the author/illustrator of the award-winning Not a Box (2006)

HEY, WATER!

Portis’ latest picture book is a joyful, lyrical celebration of water.

In it, protagonist Zoe (the name is revealed only at the end of the book) realizes that water is “all around” and discovers it everywhere: in her home, in nature, in her community, and in herself (“sometimes you slide down my cheek without a sound”). From page to page and, subtly, through the seasons, she engages in a game of hide-and-seek with water’s many states—from ice (“Sometimes you freeze hard as a rock—a rock that floats, / or a rock we can skate on”) to steam (“Water, even when you try to fool me, I know you. You blast and huff. You whistle and puff”). Through it all, as she declares at the end, “water, I know it’s you!” Done with brush and sumi ink and then digitally colored, Portis’ bold illustrations undulate on the page—raindrops roar and pour; dwarfing a whale, oceans surge (even on the endpapers). Words describing the different types of water celebrated (“shower”; “puddle”; “fog”) are printed in a large font that harmonizes with the illustrations’ brushy look. The picture book also includes informative backmatter: an illustration of the water cycle, a manifesto to conserve water, and a list of additional resources about water and water experiments. Zoe has brown skin and straight, black hair.

An energetic and literary introduction to water science by the author/illustrator of the award-winning Not a Box (2006) . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4155-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A visual success conjuring up the best about the seasons’ changes.

GOODBYE SUMMER, HELLO AUTUMN

As a child walks through woods and town, summer turns to fall, and the natural world is met with a friendly hello.

A slim, brown child with a black-haired bob and hipster clothes stands on a stoop, ready to greet the late summer morning. On this picturesque journey through the seasons, the protagonist’s cordial salutation—whether made to blue jays and beavers or to the thunder and wind—is always the same: “Hello, [object].” And all amiably respond, providing tidbits of information about themselves. Unfortunately, their chatty replies miss the rhythm and easy conversational style that would make this shine as a read-aloud. It’s a shame, since the artist’s lush, evocative digital illustrations so perfectly capture the changing seasons in both the countryside and the town’s streets. To further accentuate the subject matter, Pak makes every spread a panorama, allowing readers to see and feel the various environments and habitats. Working in the tradition of such artists as Richard Scarry and Mary Blair, he takes a graphic approach, illustrating a world with simplified characters and shapes, layers of textures, and bold colors. Repeat visits will reveal new stories, such as the child’s collection and distribution of a carefully crafted bouquet to other people, whose diversity refreshingly reflects a range of skin tones, hairstyles, body types, and interests.

A visual success conjuring up the best about the seasons’ changes. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-415-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories.

ASTRONAUT ANNIE

What does Annie want to be?

As career day approaches, Annie wants to keep her job choice secret until her family sees her presentation at school. Readers will figure it out, however, through the title and clues Tadgell incorporates into the illustrations. Family members make guesses about her ambitions that are tied to their own passions, although her brother watches as she completes her costume in a bedroom with a Mae Jemison poster, starry décor, and a telescope. There’s a celebratory mood at the culminating presentation, where Annie says she wants to “soar high through the air” like her basketball-playing mother, “explore faraway places” like her hiker dad, and “be brave and bold” like her baker grandmother (this feels forced, but oven mitts are part of her astronaut costume) so “the whole world will hear my exciting stories” like her reporter grandfather. Annie jumps off a chair to “BLAST OFF” in a small illustration superimposed on a larger picture depicting her floating in space with a reddish ground below. It’s unclear if Annie imagines this scene or if it’s her future-self exploring Mars, but either scenario fits the aspirational story. Backmatter provides further reading suggestions and information about the moon and four women astronauts, one of whom is Jemison. Annie and her family are all black.

A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88448-523-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more