Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed.

READ REVIEW

LITTLE SEED

A LIFE

The life story of a seed is set in a biblical context.

Readers are introduced on the first page to Little Seed, who will serve as the uninspiring and often hard-to-spot main character of this tale. It floats to the ground and is buried in the soil until winter arrives and the earth freezes. Lest readers worry about Little Seed at this point, they are offered the startling—for no religious or spiritual context has been thus far established—reassurance that “God gave Little Seed everything it needed. Its hard coat protected it. Little Seed was safe.” When spring comes, Little Seed’s softened shell splits open, and a sprout and roots begin to grow. At this point, the illustrations present several small seedlings, making it impossible to even identify Little Seed. When summer rolls around, Little Seed has become a sunflower that must reproduce in fall to fulfill its destiny. The final page spread attempts to tie everything together by offering a quotation referencing gardens and seeds from Isaiah 61:11. The illustrations, an unusual mixture of realism and impressionism, are plagued by inconsistencies. The permanent fixtures of Little Seed’s background, for example, seem to change from season to season, though presumably it remains rooted in the same spot.

Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9854090-7-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Graham Blanchard

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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EGG

A graciously illustrated rhyming ode to eggs.

Wrapped in its own firm shell, this compact board book has a solid padded cover and opens onto stiff, matte cardboard pages. Creamy white backgrounds highlight each page’s avian-related vignette, ranging from a greenish-gold “shiny egg” to a “dotted egg” with an elaborately lined, blue iridescent feather nestled in front. Though each page features an accurately drawn egg, there’s enough variation among the depictions—a large tropical flower overhanging a tiny vervain hummingbird egg; a chickadee incubating her eggs; a silly but “sweet” foil-wrapped chocolate egg—that the content feels fresh. Ink drawings in subdued colors are fine and delicate, clearly conveying the subtle differences among each bird species, and eggs and nests manage to look both fragile and solid. Related in two-word rhyming couplets consisting of one descriptor word followed by “egg,” the text achieves a smooth, catchy sound. A useful illustrated key at the back identifies the eggs, though some, like a “sea egg” identified as a great blue heron’s or those of less-familiar birds, such as the cassowary, beg for more context or even a picture of the bird itself. A tall, thin typeset keeps the focus on the lovely eggshells but is hard to read from a distance; sharp corners on the board pages make this case-bound board book unsuitable for the youngest listeners.

Egg-quisite . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-56846-351-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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An inclusive view of an ever popular career option that’s sturdy enough to survive repeated alarms.

FIREHOUSE

PLAY-GO-ROUND

A firehouse that sets up in the round, with cutout doors and windows plus push-out firefighters and a ready-to-assemble truck.

The three detachable firefighters (along with the rather stubby truck and assorted equipment) join a large and distinctly diverse crew in simply rendered firehouse scenes that depict training, exercise, going out on a call, and then cleaning up afterward. Along with being a nearly equal mix of male and female (implied by hairstyle), the stylized figures bear skin colors ranging from pink through at least two shades of brown, hair in several different colors and styles, and, in a couple of cases, broad Asian features. The trucks on view don’t look much like real ones, and some topical drift shows up on the last page, in which the supposed “firefighters” are actually a uniformed ambulance crew, patching up a child who has fallen off a bike. Still, everyone in sight is busily at work, and the “Fire Rescue!” scene is dramatic without being scarily so.

An inclusive view of an ever popular career option that’s sturdy enough to survive repeated alarms. (Novelty board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 979-1-02760-196-7

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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