In this aesthetically pleasing homage, Reid obliges young readers to contemplate the sky in all its not-always-blue...

PICTURE THE SKY

Adults and children alike perform their daily activities under vast and varied skies.

Why is the sky blue? This perennial question often asked by young children may be resolved (or at least dodged) as children learn that the sky is not always blue. It is “an ever-changing, always open, everyone welcome art gallery.” Alongside the tantalizing Plasticine art that Reid is known for, she asks, “How do you picture the sky?” And in a series of short sentences, she invites readers on a tour of the sky in all its iterations: at sunrise, when “It can be…the curtain rising on your day”; at sunset; on a sunny, cloudless day; peeking out between trees or the tall buildings of a cityscape where “it can slip into the background.” And on days of low-lying fog it “can play hide-and-seek.” Some see castles in the clouds, polar bears in the constellations, or figures dancing in the northern lights. “You may find a story in the sky.” Although the art is not as joyously unbridled as in her companion book on trees (Picture a Tree, 2013), colorful, multidimensional images depict diverse children (about half present white and half as children of color) as they take pleasure in the sky and realize that “there is more than one way to picture the sky.”

In this aesthetically pleasing homage, Reid obliges young readers to contemplate the sky in all its not-always-blue expansive magnificence. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-9525-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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As gentle and unassuming as Oliver, this story thoroughly charms.

OLIVER'S TREE

It’s no fun for anyone when someone is left out!

Baby elephant Oliver has two very good friends: Lulu, an owlet, and Charlie, a bunny. Playing outside is something they love to do, but the happy trio runs into trouble while trying to climb trees, because Oliver just can’t manage due to his bulk. Warm, appealing watercolors defined with pen and ink and containing just the right amount of detail show the three friends as they patiently search for a tree that is perfect for all of them. Simple text describes their trial and error, as they find trees that are too small, too weak or too tall. “It’s hopeless!” wails Oliver. “Elephants just don’t belong in trees!” When Oliver, exhausted by their efforts, succumbs to sleep, Lulu and Charlie hatch a plan to solve the problem by using their own unique talents. Will they succeed and provide Oliver with a happy surprise? No doubt! Suffused with warmth and gentle humor, this deceptively simple story demonstrates the power of friendship, the importance of working together and problem-solving, while simultaneously introducing basic concepts (high/low, tall/short) in a pleasing, organic way. Young children will root for the three friends, enjoy the mild suspense and delight in the very satisfying ending.

As gentle and unassuming as Oliver, this story thoroughly charms. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25700-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Animated and educational.

I'M A HARE, SO THERE!

A hare and a ground squirrel banter about the differences between related animals that are often confused for one another.

Jack is “no Flopsy, Mopsy, or Cottontail,” but a “H-A-R-E, hare!” Like sheep and goats, or turtles and tortoises, rabbits and hares may look similar, but hares are bigger, their fur changes color in the winter, and they are born with their eyes wide open. As the ground squirrel (not to be mistaken for a chipmunk (even though Jack cheekily calls it “Chippie”) and Jack engage in playful discussion about animals, a sneaky coyote prowls after them through the Sonoran Desert. This picture book conveys the full narrative in spirited, speech-bubbled dialogue set on expressive illustrations of talking animals. Dark outlines around the characters make their shapes pop against the softly blended colors of the desert backgrounds. Snappy back-and-forth paired with repetition and occasional rhyme enhances the story’s appeal as a read-aloud. As the story progresses, the colors of the sky shift from dawn to dusk, providing subtle, visual bookends for the narrative. One page of backmatter offers a quick guide to eight easily confused pairs, and a second turns a subsequent exploration of the book into a seek-and-find of 15 creatures (and one dessert) hidden in the desert. Unfortunately, while most of the creatures from the seek-and-find appear in poses that match the illustrations in the challenge, not all of them are consistently represented. (This book was reviewed digitally with 7-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 53.3% of actual size.)

Animated and educational. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-12506-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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