This lovely book is more than the sum of its parts.

OUTSIDE, YOU NOTICE

Sensations noticed in the outdoors are supplemented by interesting facts about nature in a variety of settings.

“Outside, / You notice things,” like the smell of the world after rainfall, how a fresh-picked strawberry tastes extra sweet, how the sound of water “Soothes and stills / Your own tumbling mind.” On each spread is a nature scene featuring diverse children and families interacting with the environment in parks, gardens, backyards, forests, farmers markets, and meadows. The sensory observations are written in a large typeface that can be read straight through as a lyrical journey, but each spread also offers several nature facts appropriate to the setting pictured. The facts are in a smaller, spindlier type, enclosed in green text boxes. The facts include scientific evidence about the benefits humans realize from being outside, such as how “getting soil on our skin can make humans feel happier,” and that being outside reduces anxiety and stress. The detailed text and varied images immerse readers in the feeling of being outside, fully attentive and relaxed. Readers will be encouraged to explore natural settings and observe the creatures in them as well as the experiences within their own bodies. The illustrations use soft coloring, varied perspectives, and active characters to great effect, pulling observers into the worlds of plants, animals, and the people who love them.

This lovely book is more than the sum of its parts. (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77278-193-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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A useful primer for socioemotional growth.

I AM OKAY TO FEEL

Queer Eye star Karamo Brown and his son Jason “Rachel” Brown affirm that all feelings—even negative ones—are OK.

A round-faced boy with brown skin, big brown eyes, and a bright smile walks outside, talking with his dad about feelings. With the son’s speech printed in blue and Dad’s in black, the boy announces that he’s happy and shows it by jumping and spinning while Dad dances. The book’s palette, which often reflects the boy’s emotional state, shifts drastically when a thunderstorm blows in as the sky swirls with patterns in deep blue and purple, and a thick yellow lightning bolt blasts through—a dramatic scene that represents the boy’s perception of the turbulent weather as he sits on the ground crying, hugging his knees. Dad assures him that it’s all right to feel and express fear and helps him calm these negative emotions by encouraging him to stretch and breathe deeply. While the book’s lesson is conveyed in a slightly heavy-handed manner, it’s a good message, and readers will appreciate seeing a story that centers a Black father and son dispelling the stereotype that men and boys—especially those of color—don’t or shouldn’t express emotions. The backmatter includes an emotion wheel with the boy showing a range of facial expressions, accompanied by activities and questions. The acronym “FEEL OKAY” offers opportunities to practice discussing emotions. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A useful primer for socioemotional growth. (authors’ note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63893-010-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Zando

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.

OVER AND UNDER THE WAVES

From the Over and Under series

In a new entry in the Over and Under series, a paddleboarder glimpses humpback whales leaping, floats over a populous kelp forest, and explores life on a beach and in a tide pool.

In this tale inspired by Messner’s experiences in Monterey Bay in California, a young tan-skinned narrator, along with their light-skinned mom and tan-skinned dad, observes in quiet, lyrical language sights and sounds above and below the sea’s serene surface. Switching perspectives and angles of view and often leaving the family’s red paddleboards just tiny dots bobbing on distant swells, Neal’s broad seascapes depict in precise detail bat stars and anchovies, kelp bass, and sea otters going about their business amid rocky formations and the swaying fronds of kelp…and, further out, graceful moon jellies and—thrillingly—massive whales in open waters beneath gliding pelicans and other shorebirds. After returning to the beach at day’s end to search for shells and to spot anemones and decorator crabs, the child ends with nighttime dreams of stars in the sky meeting stars in the sea. Appended nature notes on kelp and 21 other types of sealife fill in details about patterns and relationships in this rich ecosystem. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79720-347-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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