Those wishing to share the natural world with kids should begin with Ellen Stoll Walsh and then move on to works by Nancy...

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THESE ROCKS COUNT!

From the These Things Count! series

Mr. Tate’s class disappoints their fans with this outing to Rocky Ridge Mountain and a look at the ways people use rocks.

Ranger Pedra meets the students and introduces them to the notion that rocks have stories to tell. The class counts what they “hear” from a boulder: one sculptor, two cement trucks, three beetles, four oceanside mounds of drying salt, five baby turtles in the sand, six stalactites dripping water, seven gems, a sidewalk comprising eight pieces of slate, nine bricks and 10 panes of glass. Ranger Pedra goes on to mention the fact that rocks help date the world, and Mr. Tate asks for other ways rocks are used in everyday life. Snow’s digital collages are well-suited to the subject matter, though the people seem more wooden and obviously digital than in previous entries. Overall, the team of Formento and Snow has not been able to capture the same winning combination of education and story as they did with their first, This Tree Counts! (2010). This latest has the same ambiguous-audience problem that plagued These Seas Count! (2013), the counting pages dumbing material down for the youngest listeners (failing to even introduce geology vocabulary; stalactites are called “cave spears”) while the backmatter presents paragraphs of information for a significantly older audience. An uneven flow may also cause readers to lose interest midway.

Those wishing to share the natural world with kids should begin with Ellen Stoll Walsh and then move on to works by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7870-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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