An irresistible invitation to get out of the house and into the woods.

READ REVIEW

IN THE WOODS

An exploration of woodland inhabitants in poems and pictures.

Elliott introduces prereaders to 15 creatures that make the forest their home, ranging from the diminutive millipede and hornet to the “ungainly, / mainly” moose. Elliott’s tight, mostly rhymed verse celebrates with great humor and insight each organism’s distinctive qualities. Elliott chooses both common creatures like the skunk, advising children, “Give the skunk / a lot of / room, unless / you care for / strong perfume,” and more stealthy types, such as the fisher cat: “Does not like fish. / Is not a cat. / I don’t know what / to make of that. / But when you are / as fierce as she, / there’s no need for / consistency. He admires even the unattractive opossum, “not a classic beauty” but notable for bumping “along the woodland track, / your babies clinging to your back: / there’s beauty, too, in duty.” Dunlavey’s expressively atmospheric double-page paintings play with light effects, a scarlet tanager flashing through the dappled green and a porcupine that’s just shuffled out of the beams of an oncoming truck. In addition to the pithy lyric portraits, Elliott provides intriguing facts about each animal in the backmatter, such as the “beaver’s teeth are constantly growing,” allowing inquisitive listeners to connect with these creatures in a variety of ways.

An irresistible invitation to get out of the house and into the woods. (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9783-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Children of all ages will be charmed by this collection that demonstrates that poet-translators often make the best...

A LITTLE BITTY MAN

AND OTHER POEMS FOR THE VERY YOUNG

A charming collection of poems finds an American audience in a splendid translation.

Though unknown to the vast majority of American readers, Rasmussen (1915-2002) was a beloved Danish poet, known both for his human-rights writings as well as nonsense verse for children. A sweet compendium of the latter is translated here by the award-winning Nelson and Espeland and animated by Hawkes’ dynamic, colorful acrylic-and-pencil renderings, effectively capturing the playfulness of Rasmussen’s verse in both sound and image. As he explores life’s many processes, activities and imagined situations, Rasmussen’s delightfully warped sense of humor is in full view. It ranges from potty humor—“Feet are to jump on, / drums are to thump on. / Tiptoes to snoop on, / and potties to poop on!”—to outright silliness—“The elf puts on his winter coat […] and then, before he goes, / puts on an empty ice-cream cone / to insulate his nose.” But the poet also does not shy away from more serious subjects, such as the cultivation of friendships, using a light touch to convey his pacifist message: “Those fierce grown-up soldiers / who shoot guns and fight / should learn from us children / to fight a war right. / First, fight with toy guns. / Then, if your war won’t end, / you tickle your enemy / into a friend!”

Children of all ages will be charmed by this collection that demonstrates that poet-translators often make the best ambassadors. (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2379-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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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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