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LUKE & THE LITTLE SEED

Readers will appreciate seeing the good things that come to those who wait, watch, and water.

What could be a better gift for a wee mouse than a mysterious gift that promises both something delicious to eat and branches to climb and play on?

It's Luke's birthday—Luke being a little mouse standing on a soft, grassy hill, waving at his friends as they arrive at his party. Then his bespectacled grandfather gives him a gift: a small orange bag, full, disappointingly, of “just seeds.” But his grandfather promises that if Luke takes care of them, the gift will provide a tasty treat and a botanical jungle gym. They plant the seeds, but like every small child (or mouse), Luke is disappointed when he doesn't see speedy results. Grandfather counsels patience. Finally, up grows a small, strong shoot, and Luke sits over it, enchanted, as if a new friend has magically appeared. The story quickens; Luke forgets to water the plant, and it nearly dies; when, one day, Luke is sick in bed, his curious friends happily fill in for him. The soft pastel watercolors beautifully capture the world from a mouse’s-eye view, and the mice are irresistible, with their big ears, little hands and feet, and eyes that shine like tiny marbles. Towering, fluffy white dandelions stand like watchful and eager spectators.

Readers will appreciate seeing the good things that come to those who wait, watch, and water. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-988-8240-94-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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THE WATER PRINCESS

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of...

An international story tackles a serious global issue with Reynolds’ characteristic visual whimsy.

Gie Gie—aka Princess Gie Gie—lives with her parents in Burkina Faso. In her kingdom under “the African sky, so wild and so close,” she can tame wild dogs with her song and make grass sway, but despite grand attempts, she can neither bring the water closer to home nor make it clean. French words such as “maintenant!” (now!) and “maman” (mother) and local color like the karite tree and shea nuts place the story in a French-speaking African country. Every morning, Gie Gie and her mother perch rings of cloth and large clay pots on their heads and walk miles to the nearest well to fetch murky, brown water. The story is inspired by model Georgie Badiel, who founded the Georgie Badiel Foundation to make clean water accessible to West Africans. The details in Reynolds’ expressive illustrations highlight the beauty of the West African landscape and of Princess Gie Gie, with her cornrowed and beaded hair, but will also help readers understand that everyone needs clean water—from the children of Burkina Faso to the children of Flint, Michigan.

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of potable water. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17258-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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