An attractive, well-illustrated tale that examines coral reef ecology.


This picture book introduces children to undersea creatures through an angelfish’s travels.

Jamie, a queen angelfish, wants to take readers along as she meets other aquatic animals and swims around “our ocean park,” a coral reef, hoping to meet a shark. Humans will naturally need to don flippers and a mask to accompany Jamie, but once they do, they can explore all the lovely things underwater, such as corals, sponges, many kinds of fish, and other sea creatures. These are described in rhyming verse; a moray eel, for example, “has fang-like teeth / that hold very tight. / It may hurt a little / if he gets a bite.” Jamie finally spies a shark and helps redeem the animal’s scary reputation: “They’re not interested in us when other food can be found, / while they clean up the ocean as they move around.” Finally, the work urges readers to safeguard the oceans, giving some practical tips on how kids can help (by reducing plastic use, for example). This book by the Pechters (Skyward Bound, 2017, etc.), a husband-and-wife team of underwater photojournalists, is packed with many gorgeous pictures of beautifully colored and patterned creatures. (Morton Pechter died in 2008.) A useful table of contents identifies each denizen of the deep with name, page number, and a snapshot. Altogether, this pleasing display rewards long gazing and helps the lessons about oceans, sea creatures, and environmental protections go down easily.

An attractive, well-illustrated tale that examines coral reef ecology.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947239-25-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Best Publishing Company

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A festive invitation to creative liberation.


A pleasingly tactile exploration of the possibilities inherent in mistakes.

"A torn piece of paper... / is just the beginning!" Spills, folded paper, drips of paint, smudges and smears—they "all can make magic appear." An increasingly complex series of scenarios celebrates random accidents, encouraging artistic experimentation rather than discouragement. The folded-over paper can be a penguin's head; a torn piece of newsprint can turn into a smiling dog with a little application of paint; a hot-chocolate stain can become a bog for a frog. Thanks to a telescoping pop-up, a hole is filled with nearly limitless possibilities. The interactive elements work beautifully with the photo-collaged "mistakes," never overwhelming the intent with showiness. Saltzberg's trademark cartoon animals provide a sweetly childlike counterpoint to the artful scribbles and smears of gloppy paint.

A festive invitation to creative liberation. (Pop-up. 4-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5728-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist.


This follow-up to How To Read a Story (2005) shows a child going through the steps of creating a story, from choosing an idea through sharing with friends.

A young black child lies in a grassy field writing in a journal, working on “Step 1 / Search for an Idea— / a shiny one.” During a walk to the library, various ideas float in colorful thought bubbles, with exclamation points: “playing soccer! / dogs!” Inside the library, less-distinct ideas, expressed as shapes and pictures, with question marks, float about as the writer collects ideas to choose from. The young writer must then choose a setting, a main character, and a problem for that protagonist. Plotting, writing with detail, and revising are described in child-friendly terms and shown visually, in the form of lists and notes on faux pieces of paper. Finally, the writer sits in the same field, in a new season, sharing the story with friends. The illustrations feature the child’s writing and drawing as well as images of imagined events from the book in progress bursting off the page. The child’s main character is an adventurous mermaid who looks just like the child, complete with afro-puff pigtails, representing an affirming message about writing oneself into the world. The child’s family, depicted as black, moves in the background of the setting, which is also populated by a multiracial cast.

A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5666-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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