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. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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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 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A simple but effective look at a keystone species.


Sea otters are the key to healthy kelp forests on the Pacific coast of North America.

There have been several recent titles for older readers about the critical role sea otters play in the coastal Pacific ecosystem. This grand, green version presents it to even younger readers and listeners, using a two-level text and vivid illustrations. Biologist Buhrman-Deever opens as if she were telling a fairy tale: “On the Pacific coast of North America, where the ocean meets the shore, there are forests that have no trees.” The treelike forms are kelp, home to numerous creatures. Two spreads show this lush underwater jungle before its king, the sea otter, is introduced. A delicate balance allows this system to flourish, but there was a time that hunting upset this balance. The writer is careful to blame not the Indigenous peoples who had always hunted the area, but “new people.” In smaller print she explains that Russian explorations spurred the development of an international fur trade. Trueman paints the scene, concentrating on an otter family threatened by formidable harpoons from an abstractly rendered person in a small boat, with a sailing ship in the distance. “People do not always understand at first the changes they cause when they take too much.” Sea urchins take over; a page turn reveals a barren landscape. Happily, the story ends well when hunting stops and the otters return…and with them, the kelp forests.

A simple but effective look at a keystone species. (further information, select bibliography, additional resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8934-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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