Awe-inspiring artwork as powerful as any force of nature.

THE WEATHER'S BET

Three heavenly powers look down upon a shepherd girl and bet which one can knock her cap off.

Young’s atmospheric, textured artwork conjures the natural forces vying to mess with a mortal’s cap in this loose retelling of an old Aesop’s fable. Photographs, fabric, and paper (sometimes torn, sometimes cut) cohere in evocative collages that capture both the expansive powers of Wind, Rain, and Sun as well as the young girl’s brown skin, cheekbones, eyelashes, and strands of ebony hair. Weather blows, mists, and shines in teeming double-page, full-bleed spreads. Occasional sharp lines and solid color (the red cap serves as a cardinal beacon) give readers sound footing to navigate the complex collages. Distinguishing landmasses, sheep, the girl, and sky from one another sometimes requires squinting, but looking at these challenging compositions feels exhilarating—like standing, happily drenched, in a swirling storm. Cowan’s simple, consistent rhyme provides reassuring scaffolding that keeps readers from blowing away. Upon hearing the pleasing verse “For with the passing morning storm, / She laughed her cap off as she got warm,” young people will feel warmth spread in their little souls too. Frontmatter explicates the symbols assigned to Wind, Rain, and Sun, which were created using Chinese pictograms and appear throughout.

Awe-inspiring artwork as powerful as any force of nature. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51382-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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An adorable adventure in cartography.

CAMILLA, CARTOGRAPHER

An exercise of spatial thinking through a snowy forest.

Camilla the warthog collects maps. Maps of stars, New York, even the London Tube. She even owns an ancient map of her forest. Unfortunately for her, she believes all lands have been explored and there is nothing new to chart. However, with a snowy morning comes a new opportunity. When her hedgehog neighbor, Parsley, asks for her help in finding the creek, Camilla quivers with excitement when she realizes the snow-covered land “is uncharted territory.” With all landmarks covered in snow, Camilla and Parsley must use their spatial-reasoning skills and a compass to find a new way to the creek. Their trailblazing journey proves a challenge as they keep bumping into trees, rocks, and walls. But when they find the creek, Camilla will have all the information and tools ready to draw out a new map, to break out in case of another snowfall. Wood’s delightful illustrations and Dillemuth’s expertise in the matter engage readers in the woodland creatures’ adventures. In addition, Dillemuth, who holds a doctorate in geography, provides activities in the backmatter for parents and caregivers to help children develop their own spatial-reasoning skills, such as sketching and reading maps or using cardinal directions.

An adorable adventure in cartography. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3033-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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