Get out the seed catalogs.

JO MACDONALD HAD A GARDEN

Quattlebaum and Bryant follow up their successful Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond (2011) with new lyrics to the same song, while keeping the nature focus.

This time, Jo MacDonald and her cousin Mike make a garden. From digging the earth and planting the seeds, to watering, harvesting and enjoying the “fruits” of their labors, the two care for their garden habitat and the animals that visit it. Readers can tend their own imaginary gardens along with the pair, as the illustrations and text suggest motions to accompany the familiar tune. Careful observers can track the new plants and animals that arrive with each page turn and read more about them in the backmatter, which also includes some garden facts and tips, comprehension questions, activity extension ideas and a list of resources for gardening information specifically geared toward children. Bryant’s watercolors reflect a childlike enthusiasm. While her whole-garden view allows readers to track the animals and plants that accumulate throughout the song, this also makes it difficult to spy the smallest ones. Second in the series, this title is not quite as strong as the first. The two-syllable “garden” slightly mars the rhythm of the song, while the verses are not as easy to predict, making it harder for audiences to sing along. Still, this is likely to be a popular spring and garden story time choice.

Get out the seed catalogs. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58469-164-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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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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