Evergreen encouragement for young gardeners in the making.

As the seasons progress, a family passes down lessons in gardening.

“Grandpa told Mom, and Mom told me: The secret of a plant lives in every little seed.” As spring melts the winter snow, Grandpa, Mom, and a child garden as a pet dog and wildlife watch closely. Readers are told how to best care for seeds; a labeled page of garden tools will be especially useful. The complexity of what happens under the soil is shown in one stunning illustration, and the colors change to vibrant spring tones as the flowers blossom. “Hungry guests” arrive, such as bees and butterflies, as well as spiders that protect plants from pests. Even as said pests make an appearance—Japanese beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, and more—the art is still adorable, showing a solution to the problem as the child sprays “sticky, soapy water.” Fall colors take over again as the book draws to a close. With backmatter explaining more about seeds and what to watch out for when you’re gardening, the book is a solid how-to, with cyclic storytelling and an appealing art style. It may not be the first of its kind but it’s a welcome tale. Mom, Grandpa, and the child are light-skinned; Mom and the child have dark hair, while Grandpa is gray-haired. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Evergreen encouragement for young gardeners in the making. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 9781534112698

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022


Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude.

A deceptively simple, visually appealing, comprehensive explanation of volcanoes.

Gibbons packs an impressive number of facts into this browsable nonfiction picture book. The text begins with the awe of a volcanic eruption: “The ground begins to rumble…ash, hot lava and rock, and gases shoot up into the air.” Diagrams of the Earth’s structural layers—inner and outer core, mantle, and crust—undergird a discussion about why volcanoes occur. Simple maps of the Earth’s seven major tectonic plates show where volcanoes are likeliest to develop. Other spreads with bright, clearly labeled illustrations cover intriguing subtopics: four types of volcanoes and how they erupt; underwater volcanoes; well-known volcanoes and historic volcanic eruptions around the world; how to be safe in the vicinity of a volcano; and the work of scientists studying volcanoes and helping to predict eruptions. A page of eight facts about volcanoes wraps things up. The straightforward, concise prose will be easy for young readers to follow. As always, Gibbons manages to present a great deal of information in a compact form.

Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4569-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021


From the Over and Under series

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.

In a new entry in the Over and Under series, a paddleboarder glimpses humpback whales leaping, floats over a populous kelp forest, and explores life on a beach and in a tide pool.

In this tale inspired by Messner’s experiences in Monterey Bay in California, a young tan-skinned narrator, along with their light-skinned mom and tan-skinned dad, observes in quiet, lyrical language sights and sounds above and below the sea’s serene surface. Switching perspectives and angles of view and often leaving the family’s red paddleboards just tiny dots bobbing on distant swells, Neal’s broad seascapes depict in precise detail bat stars and anchovies, kelp bass, and sea otters going about their business amid rocky formations and the swaying fronds of kelp…and, further out, graceful moon jellies and—thrillingly—massive whales in open waters beneath gliding pelicans and other shorebirds. After returning to the beach at day’s end to search for shells and to spot anemones and decorator crabs, the child ends with nighttime dreams of stars in the sky meeting stars in the sea. Appended nature notes on kelp and 21 other types of sealife fill in details about patterns and relationships in this rich ecosystem. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79720-347-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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