A good accompaniment to the duo’s Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, which featured a Western Muslim family (2012), in a...



A beautiful picture book simultaneously explores shapes, Islam, and the cultures of the Muslim people.

Ranging from simple (circle, rectangle, triangle, oval, diamond) to more advanced (cone, cube, hexagon, octagon, arch, crescent), various shapes introduce an object, architectural form, or concept related to Islamic faith or cultural practices. “Cube is the Ka’aba, / a most sacred site, / where Muslims worship / each day and night.” The daff (a type of drum) is a circle; the minaret is a cone; an ayah, defined as “a verse of the holy Quran” in the glossary, is printed on a hexagonal tile, and diamonds adorn a new kaftan for Eid, “an Islamic holiday.” Illustrations are elaborately adorned and ornamented, a characteristic of Islamic art, and depict Muslims of many races and ethnicities. However, Muslims dressed in noncultural clothes are largely (though not entirely) missing from illustrations, potentially reinforcing a stereotypical image for non-Muslims. This is partially remedied by the author’s note that each spread represents a different country, but without a key or labels, it is difficult to discern which ones these are. The book successfully covers a wide array of concepts, cultures, and shapes, but Islam’s vastness, rightly celebrated here, means that some choices in spelling (“mimbar” vs. “minbar”; “Ka’aba” vs. “Ka’ba” or “Ka’bah”), definition (“iftar” is not necessarily a “light” meal), and illustrative detail (the kaftan is not belted) may throw readers accustomed to other practices.

A good accompaniment to the duo’s Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, which featured a Western Muslim family (2012), in a collection of children’s books with an Islamic theme. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5541-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.



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.


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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