A solid introduction, though it’s not without its flaws.

FORESTS

From the About Habitats series

The Sills add to their About Habitats series with this look at the forests of the world.

Using the same format as the others in the series, Cathryn Sill writes a sentence or two in a large font on left-hand pages, while her husband, John Sill, uses realistic watercolors to illustrate the information presented. “Many animals find food and shelter in forests,” for example, is placed opposite a deciduous forest scene of a black bear, broad-winged hawk, brown creeper, question mark butterfly, red-spotted salamander and box turtle; though none appears to be eating or in any shelter, save the salamander, who is peeking from underneath a leaf, some are camouflaged, which is what the paragraph about this particular illustration plate explains in the afterword. This is where readers will need to turn in order to learn more specific information—a miss for the series, as incorporating this within the text in a text box or smaller font would have broadened the age range of its potential audience. Another miss is the lack of a detailed map in the backmatter, which could have pinpointed some of the locations, going beyond the seven continents portrayed on the map at the front. Still, the Sills do a good job of showing (and especially identifying) both plants and animals.

A solid introduction, though it’s not without its flaws. (map, glossary, bibliography, list of websites) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-56145-734-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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A universal theme, developed in an unusually clean, simple presentation…and, at least, with no need for batteries.

TAP THE MAGIC TREE

Matheson invites readers to take an apple tree through a seasonal round using taps and page turns in place of touch-screens.

“There’s magic in this bare brown tree. / Tap it once. / Turn the page to see.” Making the resemblance to a tablet app even more apparent, the tissue-collage leaves, flowers and fruits that grow, mature and fall in succession on the scaffolding of branches “appear” following cued shakes, pats, blown breaths, claps and gestures as well as simple taps. The tree, suspended in white space on each spread, is all there is to see (until a pair of nesting bluebirds fly in at the end)—so that even very young children will easily follow its changes through spring, summer and winter dormancy to a fresh spring. Like the print version of Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (2011), from which this plainly takes its inspiration, the illusion of interactivity exercises a reader’s imagination in ways that digital media do not. Still, the overall result is more an imitation of an app than a creative use of ink, paper and physical design.

A universal theme, developed in an unusually clean, simple presentation…and, at least, with no need for batteries. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-227445-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.

LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN

From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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