A high-voltage stimulus package that encourages close observation of and imaginative thinking about nature, not to mention...

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BLUE SKY

This depiction of the stratosphere in its ever-shifting splendor offers a catalog of concepts for young readers.  

Arms outstretched, smiling face raised and backlit with the rising sun’s glow, the child on the cover radiates infectious joy. Readers follow him (and his family and stuffed monkey) through a series of double-page spreads during which the firmament changes from “Cloud Sky / Rain Sky / Storm Sky” to the eventual “Wish Sky / Sleep Sky / Dream Sky.” There is no particular rhythm or rhyme scheme; the text (shaped, colored and decorated to support the message) simply declares possible and imagined changes in a 24-hour period. Wood’s decision to use pastel paper in deep colors for the backgrounds and compose with gouache highlights and colored pencils contributes to the sensory delight. Vibrant and marvelous as her lines are, it is the texture and tint of the underlying paper that maximizes the sizzle of the sunset and the connection between the lavender moonlight and its reflection in the sea. Compositions vary from scenes in which the dramatic patterns of natural phenomena overwhelm viewers to spacious spreads offering visual rest. The cycle and book close when the cover image is paired with “New Sky.”

A high-voltage stimulus package that encourages close observation of and imaginative thinking about nature, not to mention playing with print to express ideas.   (Picture book. 18 mos.-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-31610-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.

LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN

From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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