FEEL THE FOG

From the Weather Walks series

Full-color photographs pair with sparse but poetic text to describe the fog and offer the basic science behind it.

Words set in a spindly typeface called QuickRest appear in different ink colors, contrasting well at all times against full-bleed art. The initial double-spread page says, “Fog rolls in, damp and pale.” That is followed by two coordinated photographs on the next spread: “A cloud, ground level, / hugs stone / and snail.” The text is simple, accessible, and graceful throughout, always with a pleasant rhythm and sometimes rhyming. There is gentle humor, as in an apt reference to the kind of bone-chilling fog that appears to be affecting a hunched-over water bird: “Dewy. Cold stewy.” About halfway in, the text—still maintaining its cadence—switches from sensory descriptions of fog’s presence to elementary explanations of how warm, moist air cools to create fog, presenting examples of environments where that often occurs. The final pages contain a bit more science and plenty more lyricism. The text is complemented artfully with stunning, full-bleed photographs from several states in the U.S. as well as the countries of Greenland and Panama. An abundance of natural beauty is seen in every spread: from spider webs to deer; from tide pools to icebergs. Aside from one small shot of birds on a wire, there are no images of people or human-made objects. The effect—whether read silently or aloud—is mesmerizing and reverent. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Alluring. (further facts) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3760-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this.

ABCS OF ART

From “Apple” to “Zebra,” an alphabet of images drawn from museum paintings.

In an exhibition that recalls similar, if less parochial, ABCs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (My First ABC, 2009) and several other institutions, Hahn presents a Eurocentric selection of paintings or details to illustrate for each letter a common item or animal—all printed with reasonable clarity and captioned with identifying names, titles, and dates. She then proceeds to saddle each with an inane question (“What sounds do you think this cat is making?” “Where can you find ice?”) and a clumsily written couplet that unnecessarily repeats the artist’s name: “Flowers are plants that blossom and bloom. / Frédéric Bazille painted them filling up this room!” She also sometimes contradicts the visuals, claiming that the horses in a Franz Marc painting entitled “Two Horses, 1912” are ponies, apparently to populate the P page. Moreover, her “X” is an actual X-ray of a Jean-Honoré Fragonard, showing that the artist repainted his subject’s face…interesting but not quite in keeping with the familiar subjects chosen for the other letters.

Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4938-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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