An energetic, simple exploration of food’s journey from farm to table for today’s young locavores.

READ REVIEW

WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?

Chepito, an inquisitive little boy, wanders around his agricultural community posing the titular question to the various people he encounters, all laborers involved in food production.

Manuel tends corn, Ramón milks the cow, and Maria makes tortillas. As Chepito asks his friendly neighbors why they are doing their various activities, they each respond in a way that helps him to understand not only what it is that they are doing, but how it connects to his life specifically. When asked why she is feeding the chickens, Doña Ana tells him, “So that they can grow strong and lay good eggs like the ones you just had for breakfast.” The soft, earthy palette of the illustrations is well-suited for the rural setting. Each character wears a subtle grin on his or her face, complementing the curious tone of the narrative. Spanish words are presented throughout the text, blended in with the English without the use of special typeface or simultaneous translations, though context makes them clear: Juan and Dolores are tying plants to sticks “[s]o that these beans can grow on the plants. See the frijoles inside?” A brief glossary at the end provides the English definitions of the Spanish words.

An energetic, simple exploration of food’s journey from farm to table for today’s young locavores. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55498-453-4

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Helpful for the right child-adult pair or group.

THE BIG BOOK ABOUT BEING BIG

A multiracial cast of children demonstrates that “BIG is being the / BIGGEST YOU / that you can be.”

An Asian child rides a two-wheeler, a younger black child rides a bike with training wheels, and a white preschooler rides a tricycle as the book’s central question is introduced: “Are you BIG yet? / When, exactly, does BIG happen?” People who say that big is “measured / by years, or / weight, or inches” are “wrong.” The text continues, “BIG is BIGGER than that.” Big is being “bright” and “kind” and “an active citizen.” Big is being “a friend to the Earth” and “a friend to yourself.” And how will you know when you’ve become big? You’ll feel “a pride inside, / a feeling of goodness… / in your heart.” Scenes show the three children spending time with family, helping elders, teaching friends, growing a garden, and outgrowing training wheels. The final spread asks, “How many little ways can you think of to be… / BIG?” Fennell’s collage illustrations use a wide range of colors and patterns for a fun, if busy, effect. A lengthy, slightly redundant endnote lists things readers can do to “Choose to Be Big!” What this purposive conversation starter lacks in artistry it may make up for in utility. This is worth a try when redirecting children’s focus from things and abilities to relationships and character is the goal.

Helpful for the right child-adult pair or group. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9684-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Pickle Press

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun.

A IS FOR ANOTHER RABBIT

An obsessed narrator creates an alphabet book overrun with rabbits, much to the chagrin of an owl who wants to create a “proper, respectable” alphabet book.

The picture book begins, “A is for A rabbit,” an illustration of a large brown rabbit taking up most of the recto. The owl protagonist—presumably the co-creator of the book—points out that “rabbit” begins with “R.” “Yes, but “a rabbit” starts with A,” says the narrator, before moving on to “B is for bunny,” which, as the owl points out, is just another name for rabbit. Despite the owl’s mounting frustration, the narrator genially narrates several rabbits into existence on almost every single page, rendered with such variety that readers will find their proliferation endlessly amusing. The letter D, for instance, introduces readers to “delightful, dynamic, daredevil RABBITS!” (a herd of biker rabbits), and although the narrator says “E is for Elephant” (which momentarily satisfies the owl), the image depicts several rabbits poorly disguised as an elephant. Much to the owl’s chagrin and, ultimately, exhaustion, the narrator grows more and more creative in their presentation of their favorite animal as the picture book proceeds down a rabbit hole of…well, rabbits! Batsel’s debut picture book for readers already familiar with the English alphabet is funny and highly entertaining. The whimsical narrative and the colorful images make this an excellent elementary-age read-aloud.

Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun. (Picture book. 4-8)/p>)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Solid series additions that teach useful skills and the power of practice.

FREDA IS FOUND

From the I See I Learn series

Murphy’s I See I Learn visual learning series continues with two new titles for children that focus on the cognitive skill of name writing and strategies to stay safe when lost.

When Freda’s attention wanders to the toy store window, she stops to look, but her class keeps walking toward the firehouse. Lost, Freda must use all she has learned to help her teachers and classmates find her again. She stays calm, gets help from an adult and is able to tell that adult about herself—full name, address, phone number and school and teacher names. A final flow chart presents readers with these steps, and questions to the readers focus on “What if…” The scariness of being lost is ameliorated somewhat by the fact that most of the illustrations show the class within sight of Freda. In the simultaneously publishing Write On, Carlos (2011), Carlos asks his mom for help in learning to write his name. Over several days, readers can see that his practice is paying off as he progresses from being able to write “Car” to proudly writing his full name on paper, in sand and with chalk while his supportive friends watch. An alphabet chart at the bottom of many pages highlights the letters used to form the names, while the final question section asks readers what names they can write. The bright illustrations clearly show both the effort that Carlos is expending and his imperfect practice pages. 

Solid series additions that teach useful skills and the power of practice. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58089-462-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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