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A TREE IS A COMMUNITY

From the Books for a Better Earth series

An effervescent appreciation of all that trees do and are.

So many reasons to love trees!

Writing in animated free verse that calls urgently to be read aloud, Harrison celebrates a tree’s residents, from bugs that “CRAWL and / CLIMB and / SCURRY up that trunk” to birds that nest or peck out cavities just right for later comers like opossums and raccoons to “SETTLE in. / And maybe / they make / their own babies? / For sure!” Meanwhile, the tree has plenty of “tree business” to conduct, such as making flowers and seeds, breathing out the oxygen that “we BREATHE IN! / For sure,” keeping soil in place, and holding “her families / safe in her STRONG arms” when “storms HOWL / and thunder goes / BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” As small creatures crawl or flit through leafy boughs above in Cosgrove’s bustling, populous illustrations, two brown-skinned children below blow bubbles or peaceably share a rope swing in the cool shade. “And best of all,” the poem ends, when spring comes round again, new seeds will drop so that “very soon / we will have / a fine new tree. / OH YES!” In a personal afterword, the author describes a certain beloved tree in his yard and suggests that readers might pick one for themselves: “I think trees love it when we love them.”

An effervescent appreciation of all that trees do and are. (bibliography, index) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2024

ISBN: 9780823455584

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

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BUTT OR FACE?

A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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CECE LOVES SCIENCE

From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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