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MRS NOAH'S SONG

Dulcet elegance.

A matriarch shares the wonder of song.

Mrs Noah sings constantly while she sews, gardens, and wakes her children for a new day. The children ask where she learned to sing, and she looks sad as she replies, “Far away and long ago.” When pressed by her youngest child, she elaborates that her mother and her grandmother were her teachers and that sadness can be good when reminiscing about people you love. In the verdant garden, Mrs Noah tells her children to close their eyes and listen. After a moment, the children hear birds singing, bees humming, and a breeze whispering in the leaves. They are amazed, but Mrs Noah says the garden sings best in the morning, just as the sun rises. Mr Noah sews a huge hammock so the family can sleep in the garden that night to be ready for the dawn. In Morris and Mayhew’s latest adaptation of the Judeo-Christian story of Noah and the ark, life after the flood is once more enchanted and interwoven with nature. The imagery-rich text and lavish collage and mixed-media art create a harmonious composition that touches on themes of oral storytelling, generational art, and rebirth (“Does this happen every morning?” one child asks, to which Mrs Noah replies, “Every morning. A wild song to raise the sun”). The children have varying skin tones inherited from dark-skinned Mrs Noah and pale Mr Noah. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Dulcet elegance. (Religious picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-913074-42-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Otter-Barry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

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. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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ASTRONAUT ANNIE

A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories.

What does Annie want to be?

As career day approaches, Annie wants to keep her job choice secret until her family sees her presentation at school. Readers will figure it out, however, through the title and clues Tadgell incorporates into the illustrations. Family members make guesses about her ambitions that are tied to their own passions, although her brother watches as she completes her costume in a bedroom with a Mae Jemison poster, starry décor, and a telescope. There’s a celebratory mood at the culminating presentation, where Annie says she wants to “soar high through the air” like her basketball-playing mother, “explore faraway places” like her hiker dad, and “be brave and bold” like her baker grandmother (this feels forced, but oven mitts are part of her astronaut costume) so “the whole world will hear my exciting stories” like her reporter grandfather. Annie jumps off a chair to “BLAST OFF” in a small illustration superimposed on a larger picture depicting her floating in space with a reddish ground below. It’s unclear if Annie imagines this scene or if it’s her future-self exploring Mars, but either scenario fits the aspirational story. Backmatter provides further reading suggestions and information about the moon and four women astronauts, one of whom is Jemison. Annie and her family are all black.

A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88448-523-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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