Wonderfully apropos pictures, solid information and sheer breadth are sure to make this an elementary-classroom staple. The...

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AWESOME AUTUMN

Goldstone departs from his usual math picture books to deliver one of the most comprehensive books about autumn available for kids.

Revolving around the idea that “Autumn is a season of awesome changes,” the text takes readers through some of them: Days get colder and shorter; frost forms; farmers harvest their crops; some animals migrate, hibernate, change color or get ready for the cold in other ways; people play soccer and football, rake leaves and celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. Sometimes-lengthy paragraphs with vocabulary defined in the text inform readers; the best ones introduce the process of leaves changing color and separating from the tree. Goldstone seamlessly intersperses pages into this discussion that talk about the tastes, sounds, sights, textures and shapes of fall, making this a solid choice for audiences of mixed ages. One- and two-page spreads, as well as collages and vignettes of beautiful photos, evoke fall. Many of the photos are cropped in the shape of leaves or words, as on the sound-sense page—“Hooray” is cut from a photo of fans in a stadium. The final few spreads give photographs of and directions for some fall crafts, including gourd geese, leaf rubbings, roasted pumpkin seeds and a fall mobile.

Wonderfully apropos pictures, solid information and sheer breadth are sure to make this an elementary-classroom staple. The cover blurb says it all: “All kinds of fall facts and fun.” (Nonfiction. 5-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9210-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How to Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Essential—the energetic narrative and uplifting illustrations will inspire and empower young readers to get out the vote.

VOTE FOR OUR FUTURE!

The children of fictional Stanton Elementary School educate themselves and their community about the vote in this picture book.

With its illustrations of simple shapes in bright colors imbuing a sense of positive action and a diverse cast of characters, this picture book rocks—and that’s even before the narrative takes hold. When Stanton’s students learn that their school becomes a polling station every two years, they want to be part of it—but learn they can’t vote until they are 18. Undeterred, they take action. The kids do their research and then engage their community to encourage those of voting age to go to the polls. They go door to door with voter-guide pamphlets, they hold a bake sale (with clever reminders like “Donut forget to vote”), and remind their families to vote. Each child-empowering scenario is paired with an adult’s excuse (“I’ll be away”; “I’m not even registered”; “I can’t walk so far”), and with each comment, the kids have an answer that draws on their research: “You can vote by mail”; “It’s not hard to register”; “A volunteer can drive you!” These kids mean business; it’s their future after all. Children and adults depicted represent a range of skin colors, hair textures, and gender presentations; one girl and her aunt wear hijab. Backmatter includes a quick listing of kid-relevant federal legislation.

Essential—the energetic narrative and uplifting illustrations will inspire and empower young readers to get out the vote. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9280-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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