Bursting with verdure and pollinators, a gentle love letter to late bloomers emphasizing the beauty of biodiversity.

THE SEEDLING THAT DIDN'T WANT TO GROW

A seedling flourishes in her own time, with some loving support along the way.

Teckentrup’s newest picture book details the tranquil story of a misfit plant finding her path to the sunlight. Straightforward, lilting text describes a little plant’s growth from delicate seedling to “the happiest summer plant there could be” after winding her way through the “tall and straight” spring and summer undergrowth of a northern temperate meadow, helped along by a loving community of insects and field mice. Under the patient care and encouragement of Ant and Ladybird, the shoot is encouraged, twining in and out amid the other plants, while allowed to grow in her own time, and her own way, until she is “full of love and life.” The author’s richly textured, luminous illustrations draw on seasonal color palettes and varying compositions to carry readers through the life cycle of the unspeaking protagonist. Lightly stylized to suggest cut-paper collage, the semirealistic depictions of butterflies, bees, and songbirds are recognizable while remaining poetic. A sweet ode to taking one’s time to find the right place to blossom, the story comes to its zenith with a warm, vertical double-page spread showing the no-longer-little plant in full bloom, fluttering with life and glowing under a hazy, late-summer sun.

Bursting with verdure and pollinators, a gentle love letter to late bloomers emphasizing the beauty of biodiversity. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-3-7913-7429-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Prestel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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