A sturdy effort from a small press focused on food literacy.

ZORA'S ZUCCHINI

After planting a dozen free zucchini plants, Zora finds ways to share and trade her bumper crop with others in her community.

“That’s going to be a lot of zucchini,” her father opines as Zora digs, plants, and waters. “We’ll eat it!” she assures him—and as the harvest rolls in, they do. In bread and soup; for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. By August, even perpetually rosy Zora realizes that this is too much food for her family. She swaps zucchini for tomatoes with Mrs. Thompson next door, then loads up the basket of her bike, giving zucchini away to neighbors. Still—there’s more. Enlisting the help of her sister and brother, Zora arranges a Saturday Garden Swap. After a slow start, neighbors come through, swapping everything from apricots to peppers. “Zora traded and traded until all her zucchini was gone.” While adult readers might scoff at the notion that Zora would be the only gardener in the neighborhood growing rampant zucchini plants, kids should warm to Zora’s predicament and resourceful problem-solving. Raff’s digitally colored watercolors have a cartoonlike, naïve quality. Hands have four fingers, and facial features are depicted as curved lines and dots. The spreads provide plenty of detail for children to notice—such as a cat’s displeasure at getting splashed by the watering can.

A sturdy effort from a small press focused on food literacy. (ideas for dealing with extra garden produce) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-7-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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