Books by Connie McLennan

THE FOREST IN THE TREES by Connie McLennan
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 10, 2019

"A busy redwood outing that will nevertheless stir readers' curiosity. (activities, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 3-8)"
High among the coast redwoods, there exists a world within a world. Read full book review >
IRISH ALPHABET by Rickey E. Pittman
ABC BOOKS
Released: March 1, 2011

This luck-of-the-Irish alphabet book cites Irish legends and symbols with intertwined one-stanza poems. Each one-page entry features tidbits of Irish culture and lore. "B is for the Blarney Stone / And for great Brian Boru. / Beware the piercing banshee's cry is / Or else she'll come for you"; "Q is for the Irish pirate queen; / Grace O'Malley was her name. / She captured many English ships, / And their treasures she did claim." (Inexplicably, pirate queen Grace O'Malley is pictured on dry land next to a castle and holding a broadsword; there's not a hint of a seafarer about the picture.) Some letters are stretches, as with most alphabet books: T is for the three colors on the Irish flag; U is for uilleann pipes; Gaelic has no letter X, except in names of Irish towns like Foxrock. And one has to wonder how many children in the book's audience will care about "J is for James Joyce." The format is typical, with color illustrations staging each ornately embellished capital letter and a few double-page spreads. One page of back matter provides a two-word glossary, a list of the 32 Irish counties and the lyrics to the song "Molly Malone." The device works tolerably but more contextualization and greater sensitivity to the audience level would have made the book more useful. (Picture book. 7-10)Read full book review >
THE RAINFOREST GREW ALL AROUND by Susan K. Mitchell
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2007

Modeling her text on the folk version of "And the Green Grass Grew All Around" (rather than William Jerome's lurid ballad of the same name), Mitchell tours a tall kapok tree, pointing out for each cumulative verse a cat, a snake, an ant, a frog or other floral or faunal resident of its ecosystem. Sidebar notes identify each subject as a jaguar, an emerald tree boa and so forth, adding a line or two of further detail, and McLennan furnishes lush, colorful, nearly page-filling close ups of each, painted in reasonably exact detail. There's no musical arrangement—but the author does append a recipe for "Rainforest cookies," along with a pair of simple matching games. A lighter, less message-driven alternative to Lynne Cherry's classroom standby, Great Kapok Tree (1990). (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-8)Read full book review >