THE UNIVERSE AND YOU

While “you” sleep, the Earth spins and travels through space.

After a wordless spread showing the Earth in deep space, the story cuts to a brown-skinned child with puffy hair in bed hugging a stuffed astronaut toy. The bedroom is decorated in a planetary theme, and a caregiver smiles over the child as “Daylight dims. / Darkness tiptoes in. / You’re tucked in tight / for a warm, cozy night.” The next spread shows the house from the outside, with the starry night behind it, and the text zooms out as well, to the spinning of the Earth. As the pages turn, the Earth circles our sun, our sun swirls around the Milky Way, and the universe expands. Throughout these spreads, the universe is related to the child with reminders that all of this activity happens “while you still sleep, / dreaming even bigger dreams.” Finally, the sun peeks above the horizon, warming the Earth’s creatures, and “you” stir and rise, ready to play. Nicely textured, layered illustrations give an almost 3-D feel to the Earth floating in deep space. The text is composed of succinct verse that, from the beginning, effortlessly conveys the magical bedtime tone, though it ends on a relatively active note. Cozy, thought-provoking, and hypnotizing, this poetic pleaser will pair well with other soothing bedtime books but can also be read and discussed during an active time of day.

Lovely and versatile. (notes) (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5341-1108-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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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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