SEASONS

Paging through this long series of full-page or full-spread serigraphic seasonal scenes and iconic images quickly becomes immersive. As the artist goes for silhouettes and broad, sometimes layered patches of color rather than fine detail (though there’s some of that too, in a delicate mosquito or the subtle sheen of a luscious plum), the multi-year round has an abstract, dreamlike quality that will draw viewers into the rhythms of each season. It’s a human-centered but outdoorsy world: Flowers and leaves bud, open and fall; birds thread a piece of yarn into their nest; an ice-cream cart wheels by; a splashy swim is followed by a sunburned back. Though the mood is largely idyllic, a flood, a forest fire, an avalanche and several other dramatic incidents add emotional dimension. Big one- or two-word captions accompany each picture and sometimes create links—a fall of “Snow” draws grown-ups outside for a “Snowball Fight,” which gives way to “Silence” over a pulled-back view of an isolated, cozy house with a curl of smoke above the chimney. Both a stylish debut (on this side of the Atlantic) and a distinctive showcase for this French comics illustrator. (Artist’s album. 4 & up)

Pub Date: April 30, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59270-095-0

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2010

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CITY GREEN

When an abandoned house on her street is torn down, Marcy feels saddened by its loss. But then an idea strikes her: She enlists the aid of several grown-up neighbors and rents the vacant lot from the city for the price of $1. Working together with materials like leftover yellow paint and surplus wood, the residents create a community garden and plant it with a variety of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Even Old Man Hammer, initially resistant to the plan and unwilling to help in any way, is drawn in by Marcy's goodwill and gentle perseverance. The illustrations, if not mesmerizing, capture the slightly gritty, faded look of the urban landscape adequately. The story is followed by a set of practical and helpful guidelines on how to start a community garden, which may inspire young green thumbs and civic-minded kids to get involved. An optimistic tale that manages to be both encouraging yet realistic about how to do some good in your very own backyard. (Picture book. 5+)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-12786-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994

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Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to...

PUMPKIN COUNTDOWN

A class visits the pumpkin patch, giving readers a chance to count down from 20.

At the farm, Farmer Mixenmatch gives them the tour, which includes a petting zoo, an educational area, a corn maze and a tractor ride to the pumpkin patch. Holub’s text cleverly though not always successfully rhymes each child’s name within the line: “ ‘Eighteen kids get on our bus,’ says Russ. / ‘But someone’s late,’ says Kate. / ‘Wait for me!’ calls Kiri.” Pumpkins at the tops of pages contain the numerals that match the text, allowing readers to pair them with the orange-colored, spelled-out numbers. Some of the objects proffered to count are a bit of a stretch—“Guess sixteen things we’ll see,” count 14 cars that arrived at the farm before the bus—but Smith’s artwork keeps things easy to count, except for a challenging page that asks readers to search for 17 orange items (answers are at the bottom, upside down). Strangely, Holub includes one page with nothing to count—a sign marks “15 Pumpkin Street.” Charming, multicultural round-faced characters and lots of detail encourage readers to go back through the book scouring pages for the 16 things the kids guessed they might see. Endpapers featuring a smattering of pumpkin facts round out the text.

Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to many library shelves. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8075-6660-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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