This home-away-home story takes flight with its poetic text and a few extraordinary seascape illustrations.

AN OWL AT SEA

Based on an actual occurrence, this picture book tells the story of a short-eared owl—a marsh and field dweller—that lands on an oil-drilling platform far out in the ocean.

An owl is found on the deck of an oil rig in the North Sea, miles from its native habitat of fields and marshes. The exhausted bird is cared for by the riggers until a helicopter bringing in the new work shift and supplies takes the owl back to land and to a bird-rescue facility. There, the owl is cared for and eventually released back into the wild. This simple home-away-home story is delivered in author Vande Griek’s emotive, poetic text, the spare words of which, surrounded by the white of the page, conjure up a powerful sense of place and action: “No place to rest, / no mouse to hear, / only the swing, / the roar / of the sea.” Illustrator Wallace’s command of the difficult watercolor technique in depicting the powerful heave and growl of the sea is exquisite—the two full-page bleeds of open ocean seascapes (some crossing the gutter) delight the eye. Alas, the illustrations depicting the oil rig and its somewhat racially diverse workers are less graceful, competent but not transcendent. The final page gives an informative overview of the habits of short-eared owls and lists sources and further reading.

This home-away-home story takes flight with its poetic text and a few extraordinary seascape illustrations. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77306-111-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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