Using sharp, cheerful, full-color photographs of young people, from toddlers to teenagers, Senisi (Just Kids, 1998, etc.) illustrates her premise that “Reading grows—bit by bit.” Included are pictograms everyone recognizes: deer crossing, wheelchair access. Colors are presented, then shapes, letters, words, signs, sentences. Throughout, children are read to, read to each other, or read by themselves, while books are everywhere—on home shelves and library tables. The children and adults photographed are very real, and are delightfully varied in age, build, and ethnicity; few will be able to resist the tiny bespectacled blonde with chipped nail polish and a festoon of ribbons in her hair, the Latina toddler with the gold earrings, or the Hanson-handsome pre-teen. Senisi makes the act of learning to read as natural as the blossoming of a flower while acknowledging that it takes time and patience. A note for parents and caregivers offers concise instructions for turning children into readers—a practical primer that concludes the book perfectly. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8075-6898-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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The way-off-road vehicle (The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field, 1997, etc.) tours the ears, eyes, nose, and skin when the assistant principal, Mr. Wilde, accidentally shrinks the school bus and the children on board, commandeering it to deliver a message to Ms. Frizzle. The vehicle plunges into the eye of a police officer, where the students explore the pupil, the cornea, the retina, and the optic nerve leading to the brain. Then it’s on to other senses, via the ear of a small child, the nose of a dog, and the tongue of the Friz herself. Sidebars and captions add to the blizzard of information here; with a combination of plot, details, and jokes, the trip is anything but dull. The facts will certainly entice readers to learn more about the ways living creatures perceive the world. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-44697-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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