Offers young readers a cheerful introduction to autumn and models observation, optimism, and resilience in the face of...

AUTUMN IS HERE

From the Tractor Mac series

A routine-loving young calf reluctantly learns to embrace change in this Tractor Mac installment.

Anthropomorphic Tractor Mac and his animal friends at Stony Meadow Farm are observing the seasonal shift from summer to autumn when they realize that one of their number is struggling with the transition: Fergus the calf has never experienced autumn, and he “does not like change.” The animals and Tractor Mac demonstrate familiarity with the why and not just the what of farm operations—as participants in the cyclical patterns dictated by the changing seasons, they gladly articulate to Fergus how the changes benefit the farm. The endpapers feature clearly labeled diagrams of Tractor Mac as well as his new mounted corn picker, which will delight readers interested in vehicles and machinery. Steers’ realistic watercolor-and-ink illustrations establish Stony Meadow and its expressive animal occupants in the foreground in warm shades of yellow, orange, and red while the white farmer couple appears most frequently in the background. When other humans are pictured, as at the Pumpkin Picking Festival, they are overwhelmingly white with just a few exceptions. The book’s lack of ethnic diversity, coupled with historically ambiguous depictions of vehicles and attire, suggests the story is set in the American rural northeast sometime around the middle of the 20th century.

Offers young readers a cheerful introduction to autumn and models observation, optimism, and resilience in the face of unexpected change. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-30920-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A feisty manifesto and appealing visual experience for those who find books thrust upon them.

I DON'T WANT TO READ THIS BOOK

After declaring refusal to do so, an unseen narrator reads this book.

The book’s title appears as a Post-it note attached to the cover. With lighthearted, whimsical word-art drawings, hand-lettering, a clipped pace, and a palette dominated by a warm peach tone, the story features a wry and opinionated offstage narrator who provides metatextual commentary about the scorned book at hand. “Let me guess...Words,” says the snarky narrator about what to expect when opening the book. Some words, such as the word doubtwith its useless letter B, are “plain ridiculous.” And then there are unnecessarily large words, such as infinitesimal, which (confoundingly) means “small.” By now, the narrator has reached peak crankiness. The next objects of the narrator’s ire are sentences, described as “too many words all smushed together,” followed by paragraphs (“Just looking at a paragraph exhausts me”) and chapters. (Cue Chapter 2!) The hyperbolic vexation is genuinely funny as medium and message converge. Words, sentences, paragraphs, an entire chapter, and the ending are presented in this anti-reading diatribe, the enddepicted in triumphant, celebratory fireworks. Greenfield’s gentle satire and Lowery’s genuinely entertaining cartoon translation of prose to art might charm even avid readers (who may remember once agreeing with some of the narrator’s sentiments). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A feisty manifesto and appealing visual experience for those who find books thrust upon them. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-32606-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

TINY LITTLE ROCKET

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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