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A well-illustrated introduction to a few basic science facts.

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A frog learns a little about science in Jennings’ picture book.

Lily Faye just wants to bask in the sun, but there’s a problem: An old oak tree is casting a long shadow across her part of the pond. She asks the tree, “Are you just going to stand there and block the sun? What use are you?” The oak frowns, and Lily Faye hops away. She runs into Bluefish, who tells her the building nearby is a school for mammals known as boys and girls. Lily Faye leaps up to the school window, where a human teacher is explaining how trees make all life on Earth possible by turning carbon dioxide into oxygen. She reconsiders her unkind words to the oak tree, returns to the pond, and apologizes. The tree accepts and parts its branches to flood the frog’s lily pad with sunlight. Raileanu’s illustrations are in a class of their own, eschewing the soft pastels many readers expect of picture books. Characters are highly stylized, and saturated colors, bordering on lurid, give the book a late-1970s Golden Book vibe. Some of the science may not be enough for curious readers: Bluefish says Lily Faye is an amphibian but doesn’t detail what that means, and how carbon dioxide becomes oxygen isn’t explained. That said, what’s presented is simple and easy to understand.

A well-illustrated introduction to a few basic science facts.

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9856960-1-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Lioness Publishing House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2022

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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A series of rollicking riddles with unexpected answers. In the first spread, the picture on the left apparently shows a rabbit in silhouette while the short verse on the right provides the clues: “He steals carrots... / His floppy ears are long and funny. / Can you guess who? That’s right! My….” Turn the page for the answer: “Grandpa Ned.” (Ned’s upside-down, with socks half-pulled off to resemble rabbit ears.) Grandpa Ned turns up twice more, as the answer to a riddle that seems to be about a cat and later as the setup answer to another riddle. The book’s four other riddles involve a pirate, snow creatures, a mouse hole and a dark cave. A lifting flap and a gatefold add tactile interest. Rex’s straightforward gouache-and–mixed-media illustrations downplay the mischief of the premise, appropriately lobbing visual softballs at an audience disoriented by the goof on a tried-and-true formula they’ve encountered over and over. In all, it’s a refreshing (albeit slight) spoof for jaded young readers who have aced easy Q&A books; some may find it too cool for the room. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-5566-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2009

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