ATLANTIC

Descriptions of the water and overviews of natural processes combine to make this a unique presentation of the story of the Atlantic Ocean. Readers learn that the Atlantic is not only the mist, salty smell, and sound of the waves, but also the icebergs up north, and the sand that the water constantly wears away and carries somewhere else. Stretching from pole to pole and washing four continents, the Atlantic has been “crossed and probed, charted, studied, dirtied.” It’s also been fished, painted, and written of by poets. Throughout the free-verse text, the author introduces the vocabulary of the ocean—ebb and flood, bay, inlet, continent, charted, oyster beds, longlines, while he skims over various natural processes, such as the ebb and flood of the tides, erosion, and the water cycle. Sparse punctuation sometimes makes the text difficult to follow, but Karas’s (7 x 9 = Trouble, p. 341, etc.) word choices more than make up for this flaw—the “rattle and clatter” of the pebbles in the waves, “heaving, raging,” and “slosh” of the water. Gouache, acrylic, and colored-pencil drawings full of oceany blues and greens complement the text and illustrate the concepts presented. Karas ends with a fact page, “Some Things About Me,” which details the age, size, currents, and growth of the Atlantic. With its broad presentation, this would make an excellent beginning to an elementary-school unit on oceans. A lovely departure for the artist whose work usually makes readers laugh out loud. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23632-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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