Wish, imagine, wonder, hope, dream…and choose a different book about imaginative flights of fancy and appreciating the here...

WHEN I LOOK UP

A young child relates all the everyday things observed and encountered that spark a sense of wonder in this Dutch import.

From the back of a spring horse at the playground, the child spies a plane and thinks of “flying to faraway places.” Some cloud-watching leads to imagining “join[ing] the parade.” And while harvesting carrots (in the dark!), the child spots a white rabbit in the moon and wants to share. A shooting star, some butterflies, and a rainbow are more ordinary than the giant giraffes and less harmful than the balloon release that finds the child wondering if one might carry a note aloft. The ending is a bit out-of-the-blue. Although her pup appears in each scene, there’s been no interaction between the two, so the child’s declaration that “everything that makes me HAPPY is right here in front of me” rings a little false. It’s exemplary (and rather noteworthy) that only two scenes are indoors. Background people have diverse skin tones while the child has a red dress, peach skin, a dark pageboy, and bright red cheeks and nose. Indeed, the illustrations are a bit stylized and odd, with humans who mostly have noses that range from pink to bright red, almost clownlike, especially when paired with too-small cone-shaped hats with pompoms on top, as several people sport.

Wish, imagine, wonder, hope, dream…and choose a different book about imaginative flights of fancy and appreciating the here and now. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60537-431-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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