Poetry aside, it’s these beautiful paintings that will inspire a love of trees.

TREES

The artwork is the star of this poetic tribute to trees.

Lush paintings, dense with color, texture, and light, illustrate a simple poem extolling trees. Each spread illuminates a short verse centering on a single idea, such as, “Trees love sky” (a single maple rises into the sky); “Trees love clouds” (viewers look directly up through a redwood canopy to clouds above); “Some trees bloom” (butterflies alight on apple blossoms); or “Some trees are old” (a gnarled bristlecone pine stands sentinel on a ledge). Bozic uses acrylic paints directly on wooden panels, and the wood grains that show through give each illustration added dimension and texture, especially when the paint is thin or absent entirely. The effect is enchanting, and the intricately detailed illustrations will catch the attention of sophisticated readers. However, the masterful technique serves Johnston’s simple text (suitable for very young children) at face value, missing the opportunity to create a rich dialogue between poem and art. Still, the book is a visual wonder. Each page is independent of the others with no narrative, though the characteristics of trees that are highlighted move gently and logically from the natural world to the human interaction within it. Backmatter includes the names of all the trees depicted as well as a list of conservation organizations and further reading. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Poetry aside, it’s these beautiful paintings that will inspire a love of trees. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7517-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play.

DOLL-E 1.0

A young girl receives a puzzling gift.

Young Charlotte has always been the most tech-savvy member of her family, helping her mother with a tablet and her father with the smart TV. After Charlotte’s parents observe a news report cautioning against letting kids get “too techy,” the couple presents Charlotte with a doll. The doll doesn’t move or think—it simply sits and utters the word “Ma-ma.” Charlotte reasons that for a doll to talk it must have a power supply, and with a few modifications and a little imagination, Charlotte’s doll becomes Doll-E 1.0. The STEM-friendly narrative is brought to life with charming pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, edited in Photoshop. The scratchy lines are reminiscent of the pictures children like Charlotte sketch at their drawing boards, and the dynamic compositions burst with energy. Charlotte is an engaging character, expressive and thoughtful in equal measure. Charlotte’s doll is adorably rendered, looking mostly like any other common doll but just unique enough that little ones may want one of their own. Charlotte and her family present white; little dog Bluetooth is a scruffy, white terrier.

An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-51031-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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