A semiclever twist that lends itself to far more imaginative play in illustration than text.

THE TREE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

As the title indicates, arboreal hijinks inspired by the classic rhyme.

The tale begins recognizably enough: “Here is the boy / up in the tree / where he built a house / overlooking the sea.” Then there is a pesky fly, followed by a lizard that snaps at that fly. But the narrative halts its cumulative efforts partway through to take a different turn. Jack has built a treehouse full of pulleys, levers, ropes and ladders. There is a rabbit, enticed by a carrot on a string, who powers a device to fan the monkey. Not to mention the speedy pineapple-delivery system for the squirrels. Verburg interrupts the expected rhyme to falteringly point out the wonders of the treehouse as the cat “jumps on the swings, / the ladder, the birdbath, / the marvelous things / Jack made with his tools.” The invitation to closely inspect Teague’s saturated art is unnecessary. Readers will be eagerly peering through branches to catch all the details of their own accords. The cumulative narration begins again, only to be halted by the storytime bell; however, this time the rhythm is better preserved. Jack, in fact, reads the same story that they are all in!

A semiclever twist that lends itself to far more imaginative play in illustration than text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-439-85338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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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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Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something...

FLIGHT SCHOOL

From the Flight School series

A small round penguin with lofty aspirations finds success of a sort in a sweet, if slight, appreciation of the resourcefulness of teachers.

The sign near a cluster of wooden pilings in the middle of the water reads “FLIGHT SCHOOL / WE TEACH BIRDS TO FLY.” “I was hatched to fly,” announces Penguin upon his arrival from the South Pole. “I have the soul of an eagle,” he assures the gently dubious Teacher. “Penguin and the other birdies practiced for weeks,” but he succeeds only in plunging into the ocean—not terribly gracefully. He is ready to give up when a solution devised by Teacher and Flamingo has Penguin flying, if only for a few moments, and his happiness at this one-time achievement is lasting. Judge’s edge-to-edge watercolor-and-pencil art is lively and amusing. Her various sea and shore birds—gulls, a pelican, a heron and a small owl among them—and their fledglings are just a little scruffy, and they are exaggeratedly, expressively funny in their anthropomorphic roles as teachers and students. Background shades of warm yellow, sea blue and green, and brown sand let the friendly, silly faces and bodies of the birds take center stage.

Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something so far out of reach. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-14424-8177-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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