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POETREE

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

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 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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THE STUFF OF STARS

Wow.

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The stories of the births of the universe, the planet Earth, and a human child are told in this picture book.

Bauer begins with cosmic nothing: “In the dark / in the deep, deep dark / a speck floated / invisible as thought / weighty as God.” Her powerful words build the story of the creation of the universe, presenting the science in poetic free verse. First, the narrative tells of the creation of stars by the Big Bang, then the explosions of some of those stars, from which dust becomes the matter that coalesces into planets, then the creation of life on Earth: a “lucky planet…neither too far / nor too near…its yellow star…the Sun.” Holmes’ digitally assembled hand-marbled paper-collage illustrations perfectly pair with the text—in fact the words and illustrations become an inseparable whole, as together they both delineate and suggest—the former telling the story and the latter, with their swirling colors suggestive of vast cosmos, contributing the atmosphere. It’s a stunning achievement to present to readers the factual events that created the birth of the universe, the planet Earth, and life on Earth with such an expressive, powerful creativity of words paired with illustrations so evocative of the awe and magic of the cosmos. But then the story goes one brilliant step further and gives the birth of a child the same beginning, the same sense of magic, the same miracle.

Wow. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7883-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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I AM MONEY

An educational and uplifting foundation in financial mindsets and rules of thumb.

A walking, talking billfold of cash takes readers through the ins and outs of money.

Held together by a shiny gold clip and often accompanied by anthropomorphic coins, our narrator is a smiley, positive presence who eats pizza and rides a bike, just like us! Money explains its value as well as how to earn it (mowing lawns, selling lemonade), spend it, save it, and share it. The narrator uses clothing as a metaphor to explain different forms of money—sometimes the narrator dons “digital and crypto clothes,” though the author doesn’t elaborate on these. A similar reference to “credit card coats” is accompanied by a warning on overspending. Most commendable are reminders of readers' self-worth: Though readers are encouraged to invest in themselves, it’s made abundantly clear that money does not confer value to people. A message about earning interest is followed by a wordless page of coins and bills passing by a bank and a credit union—concepts that are a bit too advanced to describe in detail for this book’s audience. For now, tracking savings in a clear jar (not a piggy bank) is advanced enough. A guinea pig appears throughout the cheerful, textured art, making a suitably cute sidekick for the narrator.

An educational and uplifting foundation in financial mindsets and rules of thumb. (money tips) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781728271262

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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