Another child’s toy gained by mischance is a perfect vehicle for gently conveying the importance of honesty.

READ REVIEW

THE TRUTH ABOUT WIND

A found toy triggers a crisis of conscience.

While playing in his yard, Jesse accidentally acquires the perfect toy. He spots a black horse tumbling out of a wagon pulled by passers-by. Impulsively, the boy reaches through the fence and grabs it. The shiny, black horse on wheels captures Jesse’s imagination right away. Instantly dubbed “Wind” by the delighted boy, the toy inspires a whole new world of make-believe adventure. Wind by name and wind by nature, the horse races everywhere, “across the tabletop prairie and up and over the rolling cauliflower hills while Jesse ate supper.” The fantasy permits him to swim and dive in the bathtub, to gallop up the slide, and to splash “through puddles at glorious speed.” Jesse lies to his mother, telling her that Grandma gave him the horse. However his conscience starts to trouble him when he sees signs at the library and on the footbridge about a lost horse. He realizes he must do the right thing and return the toy to its rightful owner. Hutchins and Herbert’s text is vivid, specific, and evocative; Petričić’s pencil-and-watercolor illustrations have a fun, cartoonish quality that perfectly suits the story, investing the nominally inanimate toy with a huge personality. Jesse is white; there is diversity in the crowd scenes.

Another child’s toy gained by mischance is a perfect vehicle for gently conveying the importance of honesty. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-388-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Sound tadpole philosophy.

BEING FROG

This photo essay about the eponymous amphibian includes simple rhyming sentences both informative and appreciative.

The first verso states boldly: “A frog / is a being. / It is watching. / It is seeing.” The photograph across the gutter presents a close-up view of a green frog’s face against a blurry, muted, outdoor background. The simple verses scan well throughout. Many of the sentences use “It” to refer to the frog whose life is being studied; just one “It” has a different antecedent, which throws a slight curve during initial reading. However, this small book of relatively few words manages to say a lot. Some pages give readers a rudimentary understanding of a frog’s daily life and the life cycle of a frog. Others provide gentle reminders that these are sentient creatures whose lives are only partly understood by human beings. (“Does it ponder? / We don’t yet know.”) The excellent photography—with sharp images that join the text in provoking humor, interest, and reverence—attests to the author’s note about spending a good deal of time observing frogs at a nearby pond. The author’s note itself is lovely: While offering fascinating details about her own encounters with specific frogs, it also clarifies for young readers the difference between scientific and anecdotal research—and the value in both. The youngest readers will love the photographs and rhymes; slightly older children will also appreciate the author’s note.

Sound tadpole philosophy. (resources) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2881-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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