An inventive spin on what’s too often a strictly utilitarian format.

WELCOME TO MY HOUSE

A COLLECTION OF FIRST WORDS

This French import offers a visual feast of a domestic taxonomy.

The first-person text’s direct address invites readers to locate the narrator in the opening spread’s depiction of a neighborhood. “Hello! My name is Olga. Can you find me? I live with my family on the second floor of the pale green apartment building.” A light-skinned girl clad in blue stands in front of the building that fits this description, facing readers with her arms outstretched. Ensuing pages do not depict the girl and instead show groupings of various labeled items in the home: “Everything in the kitchen,” “Everything for tinkering,” and so on. Astute readers will track a black cat from page to page and notice that the one unlabeled item in the kitchen is a pet-food dish emblazoned with the name “Olga.” At book’s end the girl in blue is absent from a new exterior scene of the apartment building seen in the first spread, but the text reads “And here I am! Did you find me? I’m the one with the long whiskers,” thus confirming the black cat as the narrator. The thematic groupings move beyond standard picture dictionaries into the conceptual: “Everything for warming up” includes “Mom” and “stationary bicycle” in addition to “wool socks”; “Everything that shows time passing” includes “trash can” and “mirror” as well as clocks and “calendar.” Throughout, the illustrations balance detail with a clean aesthetic that prevents the pictures from feeling cluttered and invites close examination. The humans depicted are all white.

An inventive spin on what’s too often a strictly utilitarian format. (index) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5792-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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