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

READ REVIEW

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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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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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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