Not as successful as some of their grammar and other math titles, still, this may help teachers put time in perspective.

A SECOND, A MINUTE, A WEEK WITH DAYS IN IT

A BOOK ABOUT TIME

From the Math is CATegorical series

Cleary and Gable’s cool cats tackle the topic of time.

“Time can be measured in seconds, in minutes, in days, or in weeks, months, or years / by watches or calendars, cell phones, computers, or clocks that ticktock with their gears.” Beginning with seconds, Cleary tackles each of these time measurements (as well as hours and decades), describing the things that can be done in each—four rounds of the birthday song might take a minute, for instance, while “If you rode your bike or you skated an hour, your legs would sure have to be strong!”—and how they compare to the others, i.e., seven days in a week and 60 minutes in an hour. Some of these explanations are better than others, though; the description of the number of days in a month is scant, and only February is mentioned (as having 28 days, 29 every four years). Cleary’s rhyming verses sometimes limp along, throwing off both meaning and rhythm to match the rhyme scheme. Gable’s cats are as full of personality as ever, and there are humorous situations aplenty in his artwork, though time is quite a tricky concept to try to illustrate.

Not as successful as some of their grammar and other math titles, still, this may help teachers put time in perspective. (Math picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8225-7883-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Sweet—and savory.

THE KEEPER OF WILD WORDS

When a girl visits her grandmother, a writer and “grand friend,” she is seeking something special to share at show and tell on the first day of school.

Before Brook can explain, Mimi expresses concern that certain words describing the natural world will disappear if someone doesn’t care for and use them. (An author’s note explains the author’s motivation: She had read of the removal of 100 words about outdoor phenomena from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.) The duo sets out to search for and experience the 19 words on Mimi’s list, from “acorn” and “buttercup” to “violet” and “willow.” Kloepper’s soft illustrations feature green and brown earth tones that frame the white, matte pages; bursts of red, purple, and other spot colors enliven the scenes. Both Mimi and Brook are depicted as white. The expedition is described in vivid language, organized as free verse in single sentences or short paragraphs. Key words are printed in color in a larger display type and capital letters. Sensory details allow the protagonist to hear, see, smell, taste, and hold the wild: “ ‘Quick! Make a wish!’ said Mimi, / holding out a DANDELION, / fairy dust sitting on a stem. / ‘Blow on it and the seeds will fly. / Your tiny wishes in the air.’ ” It’s a day of wonder, with a touch of danger and a solution to Brook’s quest. The last page forms an envelope for readers’ own vocabulary collections.

Sweet—and savory. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7073-2

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Cute and brave—gee, Rot’s spud-tacular!

ROT, THE BRAVEST IN THE WORLD!

A “scaredy-spud” puts on his brave face.

All “mutant potatoes” love mud. Mud is good for playing games, eating, and even sleeping. But few taters have more tender feelings toward muck than Rot. À la Pete the Cat, Rot celebrates mud in song: “Mud between my toes! / Mud in my nose! / Mud is GREAT / wherever it GOES!” When Rot’s big brother, Snot, tells Rot about the Squirm that lives “deep down in the mushy muck,” his love quickly turns to fear. But he doesn’t give up! Instead, Rot imagines himself in various disguises to work up courage. There’s “Super Spud” (a superhero), “Sir Super Rot, the Brave and Bold” (a superhero-knight), and even “Sir Super Rot the Pigtato” (a, um, superhero-knight-pig-potato). The disguises are one thing, but, deep down, is Rot really brave enough to face the Squirm? Readers wooed by Rot’s charm in Rot: The Cutest in the World (2017) will laugh out loud at this well-paced encore—and it’s not just because of the butt cracks. Clanton creates a winning dynamic, balancing Rot’s earnestness, witty dialogue, and an omniscient, slightly melodramatic narrator. The cartoon illustrations were created using watercolors, colored pencils, digital collage, and—brilliantly—potato stamps. Clanton’s reliance on earth tones makes for some clever, surprising page turns when the palette is broken.

Cute and brave—gee, Rot’s spud-tacular! (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6764-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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