This powerful conservation message is both accessible and lovely.

RIVERS AND STREAMS

From the About Habitats series

In this extremely elementary introduction to Earth’s sources of fresh water, a simple sentence on each verso is matched by full-page watercolor art on the recto.

The watercolors are quietly exquisite, using pale washes for the land and water plus some intricately detailed flora and fauna. Most full-page illustrations, here called plates, include one animal, sometimes producing a bright spot of color. Each sentence is set in large, black print against a stark white background, making it nonthreatening to young readers. The bottom of each page of text offers a plate number for the art along with either a simple description—such as “dry stream bed”—or the name of the art’s specific location, such as “Rio Grande.” The name of any illustrated animal is also included. In most plates, it’s easy to identify the named animal, but one busy illustration presents seven with no labels, which may require that caregivers do a bit of research. It’s sequenced carefully, beginning with simple explanations of rivers and streams and moving on to such concepts as waterfalls, droughts, floods, erosion, and pollution. After a brief conclusion about the necessity of protecting rivers and streams, there follows an afterword with more complicated—but still appropriately simple—information about each plate, widening the age range from preschool into the early primaries.

This powerful conservation message is both accessible and lovely. (glossary, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68263-091-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Sound tadpole philosophy.

BEING FROG

This photo essay about the eponymous amphibian includes simple rhyming sentences both informative and appreciative.

The first verso states boldly: “A frog / is a being. / It is watching. / It is seeing.” The photograph across the gutter presents a close-up view of a green frog’s face against a blurry, muted, outdoor background. The simple verses scan well throughout. Many of the sentences use “It” to refer to the frog whose life is being studied; just one “It” has a different antecedent, which throws a slight curve during initial reading. However, this small book of relatively few words manages to say a lot. Some pages give readers a rudimentary understanding of a frog’s daily life and the life cycle of a frog. Others provide gentle reminders that these are sentient creatures whose lives are only partly understood by human beings. (“Does it ponder? / We don’t yet know.”) The excellent photography—with sharp images that join the text in provoking humor, interest, and reverence—attests to the author’s note about spending a good deal of time observing frogs at a nearby pond. The author’s note itself is lovely: While offering fascinating details about her own encounters with specific frogs, it also clarifies for young readers the difference between scientific and anecdotal research—and the value in both. The youngest readers will love the photographs and rhymes; slightly older children will also appreciate the author’s note.

Sound tadpole philosophy. (resources) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2881-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Nosy fun conveyed in verse that can induce wincing.

WHOSE NOSE DO YOU SUPPOSE?

Twelve different animal noses lead to 12 short, versified identifications of each animal and a few facts about it.

Two gray, furry legs with long, dark claws reach into a stretch of stark white space on the first verso. On the recto is an enormous, realistically portrayed black nose protruding from a white, whiskered, foreshortened snout. A pink tongue and the bottoms of dark eyes are also visible. A strip of white frame underneath sports the boldly lettered question of the title. The next page shows a group of meerkats standing upright in an ochre desert. The text shows the animal name and then resorts to rhyming couplets to explain: “In faraway Africa, you will find this nose / where it’s dusty and dry and not much grows.” A few more lines describe the meerkat’s claws, burrow, and speed, with stumbling syllabic emphases (“marvelous eyesight” rhymes with “the cold desert night”). The layout, painterly artwork, and repeated litany of the title line work beautifully together throughout. The attempted poetry is a detractor, twice exoticizing Africa, sometimes substituting banality for facts to create a couplet, and sometimes resorting to absurdly stretched near rhymes. Readers will find themselves wishing Turner had chosen to write this in straight text. The idea is an original way to introduce the youngest children to different kinds of animals, and preschoolers will enjoy the interaction of guessing each animal before the turn of the page.

Nosy fun conveyed in verse that can induce wincing. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-76036-062-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Starfish Bay

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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