THE LONGEST STORM

A parent, three children, and a dog weather a crisis together.

“A storm came to our town.” Autumn leaves swirl and a child swings from a tire on a tree, yet overhead looms a huge dark cloud. “We were going to have to stay inside, maybe for a long while.” It’s not easy. “There was nothing to do and too much time to do it.” There are moments of chaos: bathtub puddles and dog-chewed shoes. Each person looks unhappy, bored, frustrated, angry. Shockingly, the adult totally loses it. Yet when there’s an enormous flash of lightning (“the whole house shook”) everyone cuddles together, and afterward “things started to get better, a little every day.” The family appears White. Yaccarino’s bold lines and fluid figures against swaths of solid color and his use of shading and shadow are splendid. Outside the windows rain comes down at an angle. Inside there is the yellow glow of a lamp or blue of darkness and the harmony—or momentary clash—of family activity. Sun and blue sky finally make their appearance, and the family is seen in the yard picking up scattered leaves and sticks together, a reminder that the storm didn’t leave things unchanged or unscathed. The story feels emotionally true to the process of going through any profound crisis: a pandemic, death, divorce, or the prolonged absence of a parent who is deployed, a first responder, or battling an illness.

Resonant and reassuring. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-6626-5047-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A TREE IS NICE

A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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