Adult companions of young explorers will find in Sayre's latest nature study an ideal vehicle for early STEAM curricula and...

BEST IN SNOW

From the Weather Walks series

This striking photo essay engages curious readers as the world of snow is revealed in all of its frigid manifestations.

Be it a shivering, huddled squirrel or a cardinal posing as a vermilion exclamation point within a maze of snow-laden branches, the frost-flecked forest creatures gazing forth from Sayre's compelling compositions contrast perfectly with the stark descriptions. “A freeze. / A breeze. / A cloud. / It snows.” The economically precise language entices and beguiles in a rhyming progression that accompanies a series of photos that range from dark gray clouds to drifting snowflakes to a brittle pane of ice fractals. The photos are stunning. Two red-winged blackbirds are captured in midair, about to land on a feeder; snowflakes on a red squirrel’s coat stand out in a double-page–dominating close-up; individual drops of water are captured melting from ice-encrusted fir needles. Stealthily introduced science concepts unfurl amid a visual symphony of meteorological splendor. The appended science facts perfectly accompany each line of poetry reproduced from the body of the text, harmoniously blending the author’s twin disciplines of science and creative writing. A lesson-enriching bibliography is also provided.

Adult companions of young explorers will find in Sayre's latest nature study an ideal vehicle for early STEAM curricula and activities at home or in school. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5916-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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Lacking in originality yet ultimately a timely mirror for black boyhood and childhood

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This companion to Happy Hair (2019) takes the same appreciation for the diversity of black self-expression from the beauty salon to the barbershop.

Branching out from black girl hairstyles, Roe here extends the conversation to consider the multitude of hairstyles for black and brown boys even as readers can infer a wider representation of the gender spectrum, since many of the illustrations come without explicit gender assignments. There’s a legacy of black boys who have been targeted, punished, or criticized for their choice of self-expression, and this book is a needed corrective. Arriving after the much-heralded Crown (2017), this makes space to celebrate a wide range of styles, from cornrows and curls to fro-hawks and flat-tops. Each matte, posterlike portrait is rendered alongside a catchy, empowering quote: “When the stars shine, / the world is mine” highlights a high-top; “A happy boy, / full of joy!” celebrates a step-up. A (rather trite) refrain pulls them all together: “i am born to be AWESOME!” Roe is returning to the series after Superheroes Are Everywhere (2019), her recent bestselling collaboration with Sen. Kamala Harris, undoubtedly bringing a number of new fans with her. For a segment of U.S. readership that is starved for representation that appreciates the unique details and nuances of their style and identity, this steps in to lift up their presence in bright, lively portraiture.

Lacking in originality yet ultimately a timely mirror for black boyhood and childhood . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9557-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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