Aside from the somewhat corny title, Pignat and Thisdale’s joint effort yields a rewarding and engagingly layered...

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POETREE

A vivid celebration of the seasons through acrostic poetry.

Rooting her exploration of time’s passage in events taking place in the natural world, Pignat charts “amazing growth and wondrous deeds / now promised in these tiny seeds” planted both in the literal soil and readers’ imaginations through her lyric acrostic poems and Thisdale’s evocative pastoral illustrations. Twenty-five words run vertically down the thin volume’s pages—“germinate,” “deciduous,” “knots,” and “bushel” among them—introducing new terms and concepts while subtly guiding these haikulike lyrics through the seasons, with spare lines extending from each initial letter like branches. Finding the promise of a continuum in even the slightest natural occurrence or state of being, Pignat showcases the cyclical nature of existence: “Somehow each ending is not the / End, / Even / Death / Scatters new beginnings.” Throughout the work, Thisdale’s sumptuously colored and detailed mixed-media double-page spreads deftly underscore Pignat’s focus on the continuity of being, not only by depicting how a seed transforms from sapling to tree to bearer of fruit to kindling, but by subtly suggesting the stages of human life by following the silhouette of a boy in spring through adolescence in summer, to a man harvesting apples in fall before shuffling off into the distance in the snow.

Aside from the somewhat corny title, Pignat and Thisdale’s joint effort yields a rewarding and engagingly layered introduction to the life cycle and poetic form. (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88995-492-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.

BIGGER WORDS FOR LITTLE GENIUSES

More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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