The die cuts dividing water from land are vulnerable to little hands, but their value more than delivers.

WATER LAND

LAND AND WATER FORMS AROUND THE WORLD

As the subtitle indicates, Hale contrasts five water forms with five landforms in her minimalist informational picture book.

On the verso of the first double-page spread, a child revels in a windy swirl of falling maple leaves against a butter-yellow background, while on the recto another lounges in a boat on a small, clear blue body of water. The word “lake” is printed in boldface type above that body of water, the color precisely matching that of the water. Turning the page, readers see the lake is actually a die cut: the lake-shaped hole from the previous page is now an island-shaped hole, filled in with the yellow background from the previous spread. The word “island” sits underneath, its color matching the sands of the landform it represents. Hale’s art is playful and appealing but never overwhelming or distracting as she uses the die cuts and precise color to establish unmistakable visual connections. A diversity of skin tones and implied genders are included in each spread, although there is no diversity of body shape nor visual hints at disability. Logically, the concepts depend on forms where land and water meet: lake and island, bay and cape, strait and isthmus, system of lakes and archipelago, gulf and peninsula. An end foldout provides a map, form definitions, and example locations across the globe.

The die cuts dividing water from land are vulnerable to little hands, but their value more than delivers. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-15244-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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