Children might enjoy the round, tiny lady as she reads to her seeds by firefly light or sets them afloat from her leaf boat,...

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MISS MAPLE'S SEEDS

Wheeler has a graceful way with the petals and fronds of her imaginary landscape but a harder time with the logic and metaphor of the story.

Miss Maple lives in a cozy home in a tree with a winding staircase that leads to her door. She rides on a blue bird, traveling all summer to rescue “orphan seeds that got lost during the spring planting.” She brings them home and scrubs them clean before taking them on field trips so they can learn how to live in proper soil and avoid weeds. All the while, she repeats the refrain that “the world is big and you are small.” She tucks them up all winter and tells them stories; in the spring, she sends them off with love and then starts all over again. The pictures are green, gold, peach and many shades of blue; Miss Maple herself wears voluminous layered skirts and a big willow hat. The plants and flowers invite repeated viewings. But if this is a fable for the care of lost little ones, the whole seed idea does not work. If it’s not, what is it?

Children might enjoy the round, tiny lady as she reads to her seeds by firefly light or sets them afloat from her leaf boat, but a far better choice would be Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden, by Edith Pattou and illustrated by Tricia Tusa (2001). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 4, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25792-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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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 object lesson in the value of patience as well as a droll introduction to meta-what-now.

THE VERY IMPATIENT CATERPILLAR

Not every caterpillar gets the memo—or is, for that matter, temperamentally suited to spending two weeks immobilized in a chrysalis.

Seeing everyone headed up a tree (“We’re going to metamorphosize.” “Meta-WHAT-now?”) a clueless caterpillar hurries to follow. Despite the promise of a dazzling transformation, every step in the natural process, from spinning a chrysalis on, is an occasion for histrionic dismay (“It’s STILL Day 1?” “This is taking FOR-EV-ER!”). Gradually, though, the pop-eyed pupa’s kvetching quiets, the moans and groans turn to meditation (“Be one with the chrysalis”), and two weeks later: “I did it! I’m a BUTTERFLY!” Burach chronicles this miracle of nature in cartoon scenes as loud as the rapid patter, culminating in a migratory flight of butterflies and a final “ARE WE THERE YET?!” that hints at a character transformation that’s perhaps less complete than the physical one. It won’t be just adults chuckling at the interactions between the title character and its patiently pupating companions; all the characters speak in dialogue balloons, the protagonist’s green with purple text to match its chrysalis.

An object lesson in the value of patience as well as a droll introduction to meta-what-now. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-28941-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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