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RAIN

A unique read-aloud that blends world cultures, poetic form, and natural splendor.

A pastoral panorama of bucolic settings, spare verse, and multicultural depictions of rain in this Swedish import.

Whether drops of water, flakes of snow, cherry-blossom petals, or dripping tendrils of moss, rains can nourish life, extinguish fires, and offer steady percussion for a locomotive musical interlude. On each rainy spread, life happens in haiku, with all its cultural variety and complexity: A crane observes two children resolving a quarrel, a goatherd wiggles a loose tooth while surveying the flock, a lighthouse keeper discovers an unmoored boat as puffins glide by, rangers monitor a dying forest fire while creatures scurry away, and travelers with llamas climb a steep hillside, stopping for a beetle in their path. Visual details encourage readers to learn more about the countries of origin of the peoples and animals depicted throughout. A short note on the copyright page explains haiku, especially the role of nature in the classic form. While these poems do not strictly follow all the characteristics of haiku, they do evoke different moods, such as the gathering darkness of a crocodile swamp. They also break stereotypes by juxtaposing technology and rural life—a cellphone rings amid a group of bareback riders galloping across a steppe. Most of all, they invite readers to pore over each colorful, expressive illustration to discover visual clues contained in the spare verse.

A unique read-aloud that blends world cultures, poetic form, and natural splendor. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5507-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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BUTT OR FACE?

A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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CECE LOVES SCIENCE

From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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