STILL-LIFE STEW

A book that begins and ends with vegetables, with an art lesson in between. There’s a lot of fun in these pages, full of luscious textures and bright colors, fully rounded forms, and a mouthwatering premise. Rosa’s big, shining, but empty white paper propels her to her garden for painting inspiration, where she picks vegetables for her still life: tomatoes in all their variegated shapes, peppers galore, potatoes from big and brown to small and russet, spinach, green beans, three kinds of zucchini, leeks, and more. She paints them into a lovely scene, then chops and slices them up for stew for supper. The bouncy text leaps into an occasional rhyme: The typeface becomes bold or bends along the curve of a zucchini, adding to the rhythm. Rosa herself, in her overalls, long squiggly curls, and rosebud mouth, is created from the same Sculpey clay as the vegetables, with the same comfortable three-dimensionality. The author’s and illustrator’s notes are set up like recipes, which is somewhat precious, but still intriguing, and a real recipe for the stew is included. Of course, this ought to be paired with Lois Ehlert’s Growing Vegetable Soup (1987) or her Eating the Alphabet (1989) for a story-hour vegetable course. (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-7868-0251-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1998

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A TREE IS NICE

A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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