Cheerfully delivered, this array of projects should inspire adults ready to dig into gardening adventures with kids.

PLANT, SOW, MAKE, & GROW

MUD-TASTIC ACTIVITIES FOR BUDDING GARDENERS

Propelled by her volunteer work running a garden club at her daughter’s school, professional illustrator Coombs presents 38 garden projects organized by season.

The activities incorporate garden how-tos for eight types of plants as well as STEAM-oriented DIY projects such as charting plant growth, pressing flowers, and making seed bombs. Emphasizing budget-friendly options, Coombs encourages composting, seed saving, and repurposing plastic jugs as hanging baskets, watering cans, and scoops. Information about water conservation and the importance of fostering habitat for pollinators sharpens the ecological focus. An occasional British reference (e.g. encouraging slug-eating hedgehogs) slips into this import, and two superficial references to Native American gardening practices, incorporated in sidebars, come across as implications that they are quaint relics of a bygone, monolithic culture. With Coombs’ illustrated school newsletters as impetus, the text is often directed to adults. Only one project (pumpkin carving) mandates adult participation; others require the cutting of plastic bottles and bins with scissors, a metal skewer, and a drill and hacksaw. Illustrations are whimsical and clear. Coombs’ breezy, encouraging advice is often appealingly casual. However, certain specifics potentially mislead: planting pea seeds 12 inches apart (most packets advise closer spacing); suggesting that cherry tomatoes are reliably compact, bush varieties (in fact, many cherry varieties are free-growing, indeterminate types).

Cheerfully delivered, this array of projects should inspire adults ready to dig into gardening adventures with kids. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78708-025-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Button Books

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Cool and stylish.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more