THIS IS YOUR GARDEN

PLB 0-517-70993-7 A primer for young gardeners, tuning them in to the basics for starting a garden and then maintaining it. Smith (Argo, You Lucky Dog, 1994, etc.) gently delivers plenty of advice and information: This is a how-to book, but it is neither dry nor admonitory, and the text is often lilting. Even the difficult notion of thinning is handled well; recognizing that it’s hard for a child to root out a plant he or she has grown from a seed, Smith shows children that such plants can be transplanted—and “say you will visit on Thursdays.” The book also offers a sober, solid lesson in patience, and in the appreciation of nature’s great good bounty. Perhaps best of all, in the gathering exuberance of the little girl’s flowerbed, there is real provocation to get a garden going, to see if the glorious raucousness of Smith’s pages can be duplicated in the earth. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 1998

ISBN: 0-517-70992-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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