So-so verse but a warming message for the heart and a feast for the eyes.

WELCOME FLOWER CHILD

THE MAGIC OF YOUR BIRTH FLOWER

A monthly party of positivity hosted by garden fairies.

This book’s dedication sets the positive tone: “Every child is a different kind of flower, and all together make this world a beautiful garden.” Anchoring the title page, fanciful winged garden fairies parade the flowers to be highlighted in the ensuing text. Most are familiar (daffodil, rose, poppy, etc.), but the list doesn’t seem to duplicate any standard list of birth months and flowers. Within, each double-page spread contains a four-line verse with an encouraging message for that month. “December: Poinsettia / December’s flowers are vibrant and strong. / They raise our spirits like a song. / Your sweetness and courage are a gift / that gives our hearts a cheerful lift.” The verse is singsong-y, with the occasional metrical stumble and more than occasional cliché. The real joy of this book is the illustrations, with colors as vibrant as a brilliant sunset. Garden snapshots pop against lighter backgrounds. Close inspection of the illustrations will reveal garden fairies, moths, and butterflies. The most observant readers will also spot a mouse, a spider, ladybugs, caterpillars, and dragonflies. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 39.9% of actual size.)

So-so verse but a warming message for the heart and a feast for the eyes. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984830-39-5

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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