If youngsters scratch their heads, take them to the yard or community garden to plant and make mud pies.

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BLOOM

Cronin and Small combine talents in this fable for modern times: people who live in fragile kingdoms may need to get their hands dirty rebuilding.

Bloom the mud fairy lives in a glass kingdom where she turns weeds into blossoms and sand into glass; she also leaves mud and cracks in the glass in her wake. As the kingdom grows and gleams, folks protest Bloom's mess. She takes to the forest, but without her, the kingdom deteriorates. When the royals seek Bloom's magic to save them, they are outraged when the dirty creature places a bucket of mud at their feet. So they send tiny, ordinary Genevieve to talk to Bloom. Although Genevieve has heretofore preserved her delicate hands for the frivolous task of washing the queen’s sugar spoon, with Bloom's coaching she digs her hands into the mud to make...bricks! The text is set in different typefaces and fonts to help the narrative along, while Small uses watercolor washes in cool blues and warm greens and browns to indicate changing tones. Genevieve takes her new-learned "magic" back to the kingdom to rebuild, and the residents rejoice. All the characters, from royals to fairy, are white. The tale is enchanting but somewhat opaque, so metaphorical that children may need significant help from adults to understand it.

If youngsters scratch their heads, take them to the yard or community garden to plant and make mud pies. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0620-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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