Kids will enjoy the quirky visuals while appreciating the creative relationship of these two companions.

MAXINE AND THE GREATEST GARDEN EVER

Two friends strengthen their bond when their gardening project needs more ingenuity than originally anticipated.

Maxine, a science-oriented little White girl with a pet goldfish, loves to read and make constructive gadgets. Her friend Leo, a little Black boy, also likes making things, though from an artistic perspective. Together they decide to carefully design a garden. Maxine creates a practical blueprint while Leo draws a colorful diagram. Both plans allow them to plot, dig, and plant a beautiful and expansive space that includes a pond for Milton, Maxine’s pet fish. After their produce begins to sprout, however, some unwanted visitors slink in to ravage the fruits of all their hard work. Oh, no—now they need a new idea to keep those critters away. An average scarecrow doesn’t do the trick, so the kids get to work and build a “critter-creeping, laser-tripping, disco-ball-blinking, tuba-tooting… / SUPER SPECTACULAR SCARECROW!” But it only makes things worse by loudly disturbing everyone but their animal invaders. Initial disappointment and failure lead to blame and argument and then remorse and apologies. Both Maxine and Leo realize that “it takes a long time to grow a garden…but even longer to grow a friend.” Hatam offers kids lots of minutiae to look at, including clever endpapers with comical one-liners (“Thyme to Turnip the Beet”). Her detailed, animated, vibrant drawings accentuate the drama and neatly depict the concluding message that celebrates compromise. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 62.7% of actual size.)

Kids will enjoy the quirky visuals while appreciating the creative relationship of these two companions. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-399-18630-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An object lesson in the value of patience as well as a droll introduction to meta-what-now.

THE VERY IMPATIENT CATERPILLAR

Not every caterpillar gets the memo—or is, for that matter, temperamentally suited to spending two weeks immobilized in a chrysalis.

Seeing everyone headed up a tree (“We’re going to metamorphosize.” “Meta-WHAT-now?”) a clueless caterpillar hurries to follow. Despite the promise of a dazzling transformation, every step in the natural process, from spinning a chrysalis on, is an occasion for histrionic dismay (“It’s STILL Day 1?” “This is taking FOR-EV-ER!”). Gradually, though, the pop-eyed pupa’s kvetching quiets, the moans and groans turn to meditation (“Be one with the chrysalis”), and two weeks later: “I did it! I’m a BUTTERFLY!” Burach chronicles this miracle of nature in cartoon scenes as loud as the rapid patter, culminating in a migratory flight of butterflies and a final “ARE WE THERE YET?!” that hints at a character transformation that’s perhaps less complete than the physical one. It won’t be just adults chuckling at the interactions between the title character and its patiently pupating companions; all the characters speak in dialogue balloons, the protagonist’s green with purple text to match its chrysalis.

An object lesson in the value of patience as well as a droll introduction to meta-what-now. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-28941-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more