Lovely but incomplete, both in information provided and in narrative.

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THE THINGS THAT I LOVE ABOUT TREES

A child celebrates what they love about trees from spring through winter.

In the spring, “the thing about trees that I love…is that changes begin.” In summer, they “are shady and so full of leaves that when the wind blows, they swish like the sea.” This upbeat, child-centered narrative is supplemented by brief, factual statements set in a smaller type. As the child looks at the blossoms on a plum tree, for instance, the small print informs readers that “bees visit the blossoms to collect nectar. Some pollen from each flower brushes onto a visiting bee, which carries it to the next flower.” Voake’s trees are simply glorious, rendered in her signature style of bold, black ink lines and splashy watercolor. They feel alive, from smooth-barked beeches to massive oaks. However, while their leaves are identified on the attractive endpapers, it will be up to caregivers to guess at most of the types depicted in the story. The narrator is a child with light brown skin (not consistent in hue) and straight, black hair who appears to live in an apartment building. The relationship of this substantial growth of varied trees to that building is unclear, especially as the child and their friends seem to have easy, unmediated access to it: Is it a nearby city park? Is the apartment building in a wooded area?

Lovely but incomplete, both in information provided and in narrative. (index, note) (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9569-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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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Laugh-out-loud fun for all.

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NANETTE'S BAGUETTE

Hilarious complications ensue when Nanette’s mom gives her the responsibility of buying the family baguette.

She sets out on her errand and encounters lots of distractions along the way as she meets and greets Georgette, Suzette, Bret with his clarinet, Mr. Barnett and his pet, Antoinette. But she remembers her mission and buys the baguette from Juliette the baker. And oh, it is a wonderful large, warm, aromatic hunk of bread, so Nanette takes a taste and another and more—until there is nothing left. Maybe she needs to take a jet to Tibet. But she faces her mother and finds understanding, tenderness, and a surprise twist. Willems is at his outlandish best with line after line of “ettes” and their absurd rhymes, all the while demonstrating a deep knowledge of children’s thought processes. Nanette and the entire cast of characters are bright green frogs with very large round eyes, heavily outlined in black and clad in eccentric clothing and hats. A highly detailed village constructed of cardboard forms the background for Nanette’s adventures. Her every emotion explodes all over the pages in wildly expressive, colorful vignettes and an eye-popping use of emphatic display type. The endpapers follow the fate of the baguette from fresh and whole to chewed and gone. Demands for encores will surely follow.

Laugh-out-loud fun for all. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2286-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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