A charming introduction to flowering plants, this is an obvious addition to a nature-themed storytime that can also can be...

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BLOOM BOOM!

A celebration of flowers in poetry and photographic imagery.

Sayre’s latest feast for the eye and ear focuses on blooming plants, showing their emergence, their growth, their beauty, and their profusion in certain places and times, especially spring. Very short couplets (“Seeds sprout. / Stems pop out”; “Leaves emerge / stalks surge”) are printed in large, legible text directly on each photo, which fills a page or spread. The titular refrain, “Bloom, boom!” follows each couplet. Carefully composed photographs vary in subject and perspective, from fields of flowers to striking close-ups of shoots, leaves, buds, and blossoms. She shows surprising desert blooms, spring wildflowers, garden tulips, and flowering trees. Just when the pattern begins to feel repetitive she begins to include more animals in her images: a bumblebee on a lupine, a chickadee and a butterfly on flowering trees, and a lizard sunning itself, and she changes up her refrain, just once. The California poppies shown close-up on the cover stretch out on a hillside at the blooming, booming conclusion. The rhyme and rhythm of the text invite reading aloud; the pictures show well even across a room. This easy-to-grasp botany lesson is supplemented with backmatter offering older readers more information about the bloom boom and about each photograph.

A charming introduction to flowering plants, this is an obvious addition to a nature-themed storytime that can also can be read alone by budding readers. (web resources) (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9472-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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Wow.

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THE STUFF OF STARS

The stories of the births of the universe, the planet Earth, and a human child are told in this picture book.

Bauer begins with cosmic nothing: “In the dark / in the deep, deep dark / a speck floated / invisible as thought / weighty as God.” Her powerful words build the story of the creation of the universe, presenting the science in poetic free verse. First, the narrative tells of the creation of stars by the Big Bang, then the explosions of some of those stars, from which dust becomes the matter that coalesces into planets, then the creation of life on Earth: a “lucky planet…neither too far / nor too near…its yellow star…the Sun.” Holmes’ digitally assembled hand-marbled paper-collage illustrations perfectly pair with the text—in fact the words and illustrations become an inseparable whole, as together they both delineate and suggest—the former telling the story and the latter, with their swirling colors suggestive of vast cosmos, contributing the atmosphere. It’s a stunning achievement to present to readers the factual events that created the birth of the universe, the planet Earth, and life on Earth with such an expressive, powerful creativity of words paired with illustrations so evocative of the awe and magic of the cosmos. But then the story goes one brilliant step further and gives the birth of a child the same beginning, the same sense of magic, the same miracle.

Wow. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7883-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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