Solid science concepts about seeds muddied by a segue into preschool pop-psych.

SEEDS

Lemniscates considers seeds, both as tiny biological powerhouses and metaphors for human potential.

“Seeds carry the power of life. / So they embark on amazing adventures.” Clear, stylized illustrations show seed dispersal, via wind and an ant colony. A double-page spread depicts the stages of a pumpkin seed from germination to blossoming. One vine—from one seed—“brings dozens of pumpkins. // And each pumpkin brings hundreds of seeds!” After examining an orchid’s progress from a tiny seed and observing that seeds can sprout in harsh conditions, Lemniscates swerves awkwardly into analogy. “A smile is a powerful seed. / … / But there are also seeds that bring anger and misunderstanding. / When those seeds grow, they pull us apart.” Indeed, two children formerly seen to be cooperating now engage in a tug of war over a basket of fruit they’ve picked. Bright pictures resemble a combination of print and collage, with swaths of textured color and snipped and applied shapes. Diversity is indicated by variations in hairstyle and skin tone. A harmonious conclusion shows a diverse group of friends playing ring-around-the-rosie accompanied by a vague address to readers: “Seeds have whole worlds inside them, / just like you.” While coaching from determined adults may enable young children to understand some of the metaphorical material, Lemniscates is on more solid ground with the clear botanical science that she introduces here.

Solid science concepts about seeds muddied by a segue into preschool pop-psych. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0844-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Although listeners will relate to the difficulty of waiting as presented in Schwartz’s straightforward plot, there is not...

I CAN'T WAIT!

Periodically, a publishing season yields titles on a common theme. This year, coincidentally, three artists explore dimensions of waiting.

Schwartz depicts three impatient preschoolers who are helpfully distracted by other characters. Headings create five segments within the longish text. William enjoys riddles; he drops clues to neighbors, whose silly guesses pass the time until Papa arrives. Anxious Annie rattles off reasons (to Puppy) why Eddie probably doesn’t like her anymore. Then he appears, wondering where she’d been. Thomas helps Grandma choose names for a new sister—until a brother is presented. Cheerful gouache and ink vignettes in a plethora of colorful patterns against a white background carry the flavor of a bygone era: wash hangs outside, batter is licked while baking, a child waits on a porch stoop. After group play, William “can’t wait” until tomorrow. By contrast, Kevin Henkes’ Waiting (2015) celebrates the joy in the moments themselves—the serendipity and sense of community with others who are present. In Antoinette Portis’ Wait (2015), a child repeatedly urges his mother to stop (and look)—with manifold rewards. Both titles feature spare text and rich visual narratives motivating readers to draw their own conclusions—and return.

Although listeners will relate to the difficulty of waiting as presented in Schwartz’s straightforward plot, there is not more to glean. Henkes and Portis offer deeper pleasures in more succinct packages. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8231-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Skimpy with just six spreads but, like its companions, a simple, serene seasonal posy.

SUMMER

A POP-UP BOOK

From the Seasons Pop-Up series

Carter completes his round of seasonal tributes with pop-up sprays of luscious-looking small fruits, garden bounty, and bright flowers.

As before, the locale is a generalized western United States, and both early- and late-season flora and foliage are on display in the same scenes. Along with lots of labels for the neatly limned animals and vegetation in each broad, idyllic landscape—from a “cedar waxwing” nibbling on a “cherry” to the marbled-paper “chickens” pecking beneath a tree heavy with ripe apples—he adds leading questions (“Who eats the flowers?” “Who looks like a stick?”) to invite closer looks. Frisky “chipmunks” are named in the first tableau, then visible without an identifier in each of the following five for younger viewers to point out. Highlighted by a spiraling cucumber vine that turns the vegetable garden into a convincing tangle, the pop-ups are simple and (relatively) sturdy but rear gracefully to surprising heights considering the volume’s small trim size.

Skimpy with just six spreads but, like its companions, a simple, serene seasonal posy. (Informational pop-up picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2832-7

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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