A furry hero ventures outdoors in this engaging and colorful tale.

MOLE BOOKS: MOLE WITNESSES A MIRACLE IN NATURE & EXPLORE THE WORLD OF FROGS WITH MOLE

A curious mole continues to explore his neighborhood in this illustrated children’s book. 

In this series, Mole and his sister Molie usually wander around their town meeting community helpers. But the siblings and their friends have set their sights on the area’s wilder residents in this volume. In the first story, Mole and Molie are playing in their backyard when they discover a clump of butterfly eggs in their mother’s garden. As one of the eggs hatches into a caterpillar, they tend to their new friend, feeding it and keeping a close eye. One day, the caterpillar vanishes, replaced by a thorny chrysalis. Mole, Molie, and their friends are worried, but not for long, because soon a beautiful butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. The siblings are delighted by the turn of events. In the second tale, the brother and sister investigate tadpoles after a visit to a local pond. They watch some tadpoles turn into frogs, learning about their life cycle and the amphibians’ natural predators along the way. In the end, Mole is so enamored by this trajectory that he creates a special board to chart frog development for his little sister. It seems as though Sarna (Mole Calls the Police, 2017, etc.) still has plenty of stories to tell about Mole and his family and cohorts. This volume takes a nice turn from observing people to finding out about animals and the outdoors—young readers who are just starting to understand the life cycle of butterflies, tadpoles, and the like should want to know more. The follow-up questions asked at the end are helpful for fostering discussion and conducting further research (and inspiring fledgling marine biologists). But another round of editing would have benefited the book: there are some punctuation and grammatical errors (including missing commas and strange ellipses). Still, the vivid illustrations are sure to inspire a trip to see Mother Nature’s bounty, and what could be better than children wanting to read about their world?

A furry hero ventures outdoors in this engaging and colorful tale. 

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4828-8603-0

Page Count: 44

Publisher: PartridgeIndia

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2017

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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