As in the sea, there’s something in this volume’s abundance for most everyone, and it will amply reward repeat visitors, who...

A FIRST BOOK OF THE SEA

Waves, tides, sands, oh my!

More than 50 poems, some rhyming and some providing punchy tidbits of information, make up this exuberant collection, which is divided into four themed sections: “Down by the Shore,” “Journeys,” “Under the Sea,” and “Wonders.” Each section includes a group of (mostly) short verses that illuminate the delightful experience of being in, under, or near the ocean. The poems shimmer with vivid imagery and sparkling language as they extol carefree activities such as swimming, beachcombing, surfing, building a sand castle, observing sundry aquatic creatures in and out of the water, sailing, and discovering the fun to be had on a pier. Additionally, there are poems about exploring, deriving sustenance and livelihood from the sea, and identifying ships and nautical knots. They’re lovely as both read-alouds and pieces to memorize. The lively watercolors drive the poems, and many, together with accompanying poems, expand across two-page spreads. The charming artwork is awash in blue and other magical sea colors and teems with realistic details, movement, and life; note a jaw-dropping gatefold of a humpback whale with instructions on singing a humpback’s “song.” Sea life is depicted in an amazing variety of forms; humans are shown as diverse in skin tone, hair color, size, and age.

As in the sea, there’s something in this volume’s abundance for most everyone, and it will amply reward repeat visitors, who will benefit from its largesse. (Poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9882-9

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention.

OUR PLANET! THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE EARTH

From the Our Universe series , Vol. 6

The sixth in McAnulty’s Our Universe series focuses on Earth’s human-caused problems, offering some family-level activities for mitigation.

Vivaciously narrated by “Planet Awesome,” the text establishes facts about how Earth’s location with regard to the sun allows life to flourish, the roles of the ocean and atmosphere, and the distinctions between weather and climate. McAnulty clearly explains how people have accelerated climate change “because so many human things need energy.” Soft-pedaling, she avoids overt indictment of fossil fuels: “Sometimes energy leads to dirty water, dirty land, and dirty air.” Dire changes are afoot: “Some land is flooding. Other land is too dry—and hot. YIKES! Not good.” “And when I’m in trouble, Earthlings are in trouble, too.” Litchfield’s engaging art adds important visual information where the perky text falls short. On one spread, a factory complex spews greenhouse gases in three plumes, each identified by the chemical symbols for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Throughout, planet Earth is appealingly represented with animated facial features and arms—one green, one blue. The palette brightens and darkens in sync with the text’s respective messages of hope and alarm. Final pages introduce alternative energy sources—wind, hydro, solar, and “human power—that’s from your own two feet.” Lastly, Earth provides excellent ideas for hyperlocal change, from buying less new stuff to planting trees. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention. (author’s note, numerical facts, atmospheric facts, ideas for action, sources) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-78249-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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