HENRY DAVID’S HOUSE

These excerpts from Thoreau’s own journal piece together the events that formed the basis for Walden. Borrowing an axe from a friend, young Thoreau enters the woods and begins to cut down trees to build his house. Working alongside the sounds, sights, and smells of nature, he begins to form his philosophy for which he is famous: living life simply. As the seasons pass, Thoreau erects his house and begins to live in the woods full-time. He often sits quietly observing the birds as they flit from tree to tree with only the sounds of humanity to remind him of the passage of time. Whether it is picking ripe raspberries; sitting in a boat on the nearby pond; or entertaining other travelers in the woods, Thoreau is reminded, “We can never have enough of nature.” Richly layered watercolor and oil paintings depict the natural world in which Thoreau lived. From large landscape paintings, to that of a single flower or chestnut, readers will enjoy the work’s visual appeal as they read through the original text. Written for younger children, this might also assist older children or even adults as an introduction to one of the great philosophers in American history. An editor’s note following the text gives more information about Thoreau’s life and work. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-88106-116-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

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A PLACE FOR BIRDS

An accessible introduction to environmental issues, this title focuses on the effects, good and bad, that human behavior has on birds, highlighting the progress that we’ve made toward living in harmony with our winged friends and acknowledging problems still not solved. The rhythmic main text highlights birds’ needs and what people can do to see that they are met. Insets on each page then provide specific examples to drive the point home. For instance, one spread explains that some birds need thick woodlands in which to make their homes. The accompanying inset tells the story of the spotted owl, which, though once facing the possibility of extinction due to the loss of its habitat, saw its chances for survival increase dramatically when Congress worked to protect old-growth forests in the 1990s. This format, with general statements foregrounded and examples included as insets, is effective and engaging, and Bond’s acrylic illustrations depict realistic scenes with a crisp vibrancy. Put this one in the hands of budding scientists, environmentalists and nature lovers. (selected bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-56145-474-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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A lighthearted read that will offer comfort to young children that others too face challenges of friendship, teamwork and...

PARKER BELL AND THE SCIENCE OF FRIENDSHIP

In her debut chapter book, Platt shares the story of a young girl navigating friendships and the challenges of trying to win her school’s science triathlon.

Young Parker Bell is a curious child who loves science and aspires to match up to Mae Jemison and Jane Goodall one day. Her best friend and partner in science is coding whiz Cassie Malouf. They have been best friends since kindergarten, but Parker gets jealous when Cassie suddenly starts becoming friendly with Theo Zachary, a shy boy in their class. Parker worries that Cassie likes Theo more than her, and she fights hard to keep her friend. Matters only get worse when Cassie invites Theo to be part of their team for the science triathlon, which features a science trivia contest, an egg drop, and a presentation. In a somewhat predictable plot, Parker realizes she has a lot in common with Theo as she spends more time with him. Platt works hard to defy gender stereotypes. In addition to the girls’ STEM enthusiasm, Parker’s mom teaches phys ed, her dad owns a bakery, and Cassie’s mom teaches math. Zhai’s simple black-and-white illustrations of Parker, Cassie, and the classrooms provide a good visual aid to the story, depicting Parker and Theo as white and Cassie with dark skin and long black hair.

A lighthearted read that will offer comfort to young children that others too face challenges of friendship, teamwork and competition. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-97347-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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