A delightful look at a unique aquatic environment that will nourish children’s natural sense of wonder.

What can you find in a tide pool?

The author of the Sibert Medal–winning picture book Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera (2020) introduces young readers to the delights and wonders of a Pacific coastal tide pool. Intriguingly, the story begins before the frontmatter—introductory text and illustrations portraying a tidal cycle lead to, and then seamlessly incorporate, the book’s title page. Fleming names some of the creatures who wait in the tide pool for the ocean waves to return: “clusters of barnacles,” “beds of mussels,” “patches of sponge,” and sundry other invertebrates as well as fish. Descriptive verbs abound: a kelp crab “idles”; a rock crab “scoots.” At high tide, “everything is busy. / All brim with life,” until the water recedes and quiet returns. Hevron’s harmonious acrylic paint–and-pencil illustrations perfectly pair with Fleming’s gentle, lyrical text. The marine creatures are clearly depicted, stylized but recognizable. The octopus and sea cucumber hiding under rocks at low tide are out and about in the water during high tide. The backmatter includes an illustrated guide to the species shown throughout the artwork—offering the opportunity for a seek-and-find—and an annotated diagram showing their habitats. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A delightful look at a unique aquatic environment that will nourish children’s natural sense of wonder. (resources) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4915-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022


A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023


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

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 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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