LET'S PLAY OUTDOORS!

EXPLORING NATURE FOR CHILDREN

A solid, accessible reference book that is fun to peruse.

A series of activities offers simple directions for specific ways that kids can interact with the outdoors.

A chaotic but appealing table of contents lists the many single-spread topics, which include ways to observe nature (“Window Camera”), ways to help preserve nature (“We Need Bees!”), and how to create carefully controlled entertainment in the great outdoors (“Campfires,” “Outdoor Cooking,” and “Obstacle Courses”). From constructing careful environments for “minibeast” observation to making bark rubbings, the directions are always clear and simple. Along the way, animals (and a couple of mushrooms) remind children via speech bubble of proper, mindful behavior and of when an adult must be present during an activity. A notebook icon sometimes appears with further suggestions for writing or drawing. Badgers, hedgehogs, and general vocabulary indicate this German import’s European genesis, as does a note about shutting gates behind you when roaming in the countryside. Otherwise, the art and text translate well to many North American settings. Facts surface, such as the differences between deciduous and evergreen and between centipede and millipede, but the book’s strength lies in the many ways offered to enjoy the outdoors while being mindful of other life forms. The color-block illustrations are full of people with varied skin tones and hair types. Aerial views of a multicultural woodland band and a campfire gathering are particularly appealing.

A solid, accessible reference book that is fun to peruse. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-3-89955-843-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Little Gestalten

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

FIND MOMO EVERYWHERE

From the Find Momo series , Vol. 7

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute.

Readers bid farewell to a beloved canine character.

Momo is—or was—an adorable and very photogenic border collie owned by author Knapp. The many readers who loved him in the previous half-dozen books are in for a shock with this one. “Momo had died” is the stark reality—and there are no photographs of him here. Instead, Momo has been replaced by a flat cartoonish pastiche with strange, staring round white eyes, inserted into some of Knapp’s photography (which remains appealing, insofar as it can be discerned under the mixed media). Previous books contained few or no words. Unfortunately, virtuosity behind a lens does not guarantee mastery of verse. The art here is accompanied by words that sometimes rhyme but never find a workable or predictable rhythm (“We’d fetch and we’d catch, / we’d run and we’d jump. Every day we found new / games to play”). It’s a pity, because the subject—a pet’s death—is an important one to address with children. Of course, Momo isn’t gone; he can still be found “everywhere” in memories. But alas, he can be found here only in the crude depictions of the darling dog so well known from the earlier books.

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781683693864

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

HUMMINGBIRD

A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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