This meditation on biodiversity makes its point with grace.

THE WALL AND THE WILD

At the edge of Stone Hollow, Ana grows a garden.

Unlike the wild, which edges her little plot, Ana’s garden is tidy, neat, and orderly. She uses only the best seeds, tossing the discards into the wild. After planting, Ana builds a stone boundary designed to shelter her garden from the chaos beyond. Before long, her garden begins to grow, sprouting into gorgeous tall flowers and delicious fruits and vegetables. Pollinators and people come to visit. But while her visitors love the garden, Ana is still critical. She pulls out unfamiliar plants that have taken root and sorts through her seeds again, throwing everything she rejects into the wild. Then she builds her stone boundary even higher. Throughout the growing season, Ana perfects her garden and builds her wall ever higher. But the neater she makes her garden, the fewer visitors she sees—and the more she wonders whether tidiness and order ought to be her goals. Eventually, she decides to find out what’s behind the wall. Her discovery astounds her. In this sweet, simple story about appreciating wildness in all its forms, the protagonist is pictured as a dark-skinned, black-haired girl with hearing aids. The language is clear and easy to read, and the vibrant illustrations drive the story just as much as the words. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This meditation on biodiversity makes its point with grace. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-913747-43-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lantana

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A TREE IS NICE

A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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