Even urban readers will cheer; in fact, the title commands it.

READ REVIEW

HEY, HEY, HAY!

A rhyming tale of hay, from field to bale.

In a twist on traditional work roles, this mother-daughter team tackles the job of harvesting hay. They start by cutting it (“Mower blades slice through the grass. / A new row falls with every pass. / Stalks and stems are scattered ’round. / The scents of new-mown plants abound”). Then they use the tedder to aerate the pieces. After that, the hay dries under the warm sun. This gives the mother and daughter time to gulp a mug of switchel—a refreshing gingery drink (recipe included)—and nibble a piece of cake. Then the narrative reaches the part of the process most recognizable to young tots: rolling the hay into huge, circular mounds. Debut picture-book author Mihaly shares the true secret of hay bales—a tiny bit of summer is trapped inside each one, ready to burst out when opened on a winter’s day. Snappy, economic rhymes capture the entire process of a far-from-oft-told farm chore, while Cepeda’s oil-over-acrylic medium heightens the muddied, earthy environment. Mother and daughter are depicted with olive skin and straight, dark-brown hair.

Even urban readers will cheer; in fact, the title commands it.   (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3666-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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