Sugarcoated nursery didactics.

READ REVIEW

ONE DAY A DOT

THE STORY OF YOU, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING

For preschoolers, an introduction to ideas referencing the Big Bang, evolution, and more.

The simple text is laid out over digital drawings that are filled in with blocks of muted color; they depict sweet-faced critters and racially diverse humans against backdrops that take readers from the beginning to modern times. The first text page shows a round, black dot with faint swirls of blue surrounding it: “One day a dot appeared.” The dot bursts because “it was so excited to be there.” More dots arrive and coalesce with the first, light enters the scene, and the blue planet appears, third from the sun. Dots become shapes that play games; these games change from “Catch the Light” to “Eat or Be Eaten”; fish move to land; dinosaurs appear; a comet wipes out the dinosaurs; a small, furry creature survives and generates an evolving line of mammals; primates that look like chimpanzees become people; people keep getting smarter as they teach and learn; a modern family shows up on the scene cradling “you” (depicted as a mixed-race child with a brown-skinned dad and pale-skinned mom). Whew! The use of the word “dot” for several different objects—primordial matter, planets, a comet, etc.—cleverly provides continuity, as does the recurring refrain in which each creature does “whatever it needed to stay alive.” However, the oversimplification of ideas creates an underlying implication that animals are the only living things and that humans are superior beings; there is no hint of ecological interdependence.

Sugarcoated nursery didactics. (timeline) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-244-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.

LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN

From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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