A simple yet marvelous musing on the beauty of the great outdoors.

THE DEPTH OF THE LAKE AND THE HEIGHT OF THE SKY

A wordless ode to the serenity of breathing deep in nature.

A child with pale skin, dark hair, and Asian-presenting features plays with toys in an apartment in a bustling city. Soon the child and their parents are driving to visit relatives in the country. Tall trees replace skyscrapers, and grass replaces pavement. Mesmerized first by family photos on the living room wall and then by the lush outdoors, the child wanders down shady paths, accompanied by their equally curious dog. Arriving at a vast lake, the child dives in and finds a submerged world, with waving plants and fish that seem to beckon. This watery space is serene like the countryside above, and the child revels in it before surfacing to lie on the sunny dock. Later, the child and the dog gaze at the starry sky, inviting readers to do the same. Kim's mostly monochromatic illustrations nevertheless vary in line weight and texture, bringing to life the protagonist’s verdant surroundings and perfectly capturing the transformation from city child to a wilder one. Shifting perspectives vary between close-ups of the child’s wondrous expressions and their tiny form amid a dense forest, an expansive lake, and a luminous night sky. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A simple yet marvelous musing on the beauty of the great outdoors. (poem by the author) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-78250-742-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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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

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