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A vibrant, enriching tale that kids will love.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
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Calder and Quiel present an engaging, educational and beautifully illustrated story about two monarch butterflies.

The story follows a little girl named Bonnie as she watches monarch butterflies—which she playfully calls airplanes—in her family’s garden. Her mother shows her a place where a butterfly has laid eggs. Bonnie watches the eggs until they hatch, then follows two caterpillars, whom she names Sergio and Stanley, as they grow and change into butterflies. The narrative elegantly teaches the process of metamorphosis from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. Bonnie shares her childlike joy and observations with her parents, promoting curiosity and family togetherness. The pages are packed with fanciful, whimsical watercolors of butterflies, caterpillars, flowers, children and garden life. The illustrations colorfully supplement and enhance the tale, which is a fitting read-aloud for parents and children. Simple enough for a confident young reader, the book would facilitate a fun science lesson for the first- or second-grade classroom. The clear writing explains complex ideas in kid-friendly ways, and the parent-child dialogue is believable. The ideas and writing are too advanced for preschoolers, but they’ll love the pictures anyway. Calder is a horticulturist and garden designer who shares her knowledge well with young readers, who’ll enjoy Quiel’s award-winning artistic style. Backmatter includes information and maps about monarch migration, more monarch facts, web resources and directions to make your own butterfly garden. This section will help parents and teachers further engage kids in backyard nature.

A vibrant, enriching tale that kids will love.

Pub Date: May 28, 2011

ISBN: 978-0983296218

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Patio Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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From the Little Blue Truck series

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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