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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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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