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

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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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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Preschoolers need to learn how plants grow. This supplies the basics, but novelty (an arguably waning term for app imitators...

PLANT THE TINY SEED

This companion to Matheson’s two previous titles featuring interactivity (Tap the Magic Tree, 2013; Touch the Brightest Star, 2015) encourages listeners to tap, press, and swipe their way through gardening.

In addition to exerting agency over the planting and nurturing of seeds, children are invited to count and look for a ladybug. The directions (which are very similar to previous books) are presented in uninspired rhymes: “Wiggle your fingers / to add some water. // That’s enough. / Next, rub the sun to make it hotter.” The narrative unfolds on white pages with a low horizon line created where the soil ends; this brown border fills half an inch or so at the bottom of each page. The red insect, small seeds, and a pale-blue watering spout are gradually added, and isolated natural elements make brief cameos. Presumably the low-key design is meant to contrast with the concluding collage depicting three zinnias, several bees and butterflies, and a hummingbird, but viewers will likely get restless without more-exciting results rewarding their efforts along the way. Whereas pages of different colors and a tree that filled each composition, changing with the seasons, provided visual interest in Tap the Magic Tree, these scenes feel empty for too long.

Preschoolers need to learn how plants grow. This supplies the basics, but novelty (an arguably waning term for app imitators on paper) is not a substitute for compelling art. (notes) (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-239339-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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