SPLISH, SPLASH, SPRING

Carr and Donohue revisit the three friends and gray puppy from Frozen Noses (1999), this time to celebrate the highs and lows of spring—although pouring rain doesn't seem like a real low to these children. Cut-paper collage pictures that are reminiscent of bulletin-board art in both color selection and subject matter decorate Carr's singsong verse, although here there is more texture to the choices of paper. Occasionally, layering creates the illusion of three dimensions and the use of string or yarn adds to the depth. The rhymes are somewhat forced ("Spring is sloppy / So raindroppy!" and "Hocus-pocus! / There's a crocus!") though often interesting in the choice of language for such a young audience. The story tells of digging for earthworms and slugs, watching baby birds cheeping for food, splashing in puddles, and picking posies. Playful and cheery, this has a basic appeal, but other titles bring spring activities to life in a more definitive and charming manner. (Picture book 2-5)

Pub Date: March 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1578-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Preschoolers need to learn how plants grow. This supplies the basics, but novelty (an arguably waning term for app imitators...

PLANT THE TINY SEED

This companion to Matheson’s two previous titles featuring interactivity (Tap the Magic Tree, 2013; Touch the Brightest Star, 2015) encourages listeners to tap, press, and swipe their way through gardening.

In addition to exerting agency over the planting and nurturing of seeds, children are invited to count and look for a ladybug. The directions (which are very similar to previous books) are presented in uninspired rhymes: “Wiggle your fingers / to add some water. // That’s enough. / Next, rub the sun to make it hotter.” The narrative unfolds on white pages with a low horizon line created where the soil ends; this brown border fills half an inch or so at the bottom of each page. The red insect, small seeds, and a pale-blue watering spout are gradually added, and isolated natural elements make brief cameos. Presumably the low-key design is meant to contrast with the concluding collage depicting three zinnias, several bees and butterflies, and a hummingbird, but viewers will likely get restless without more-exciting results rewarding their efforts along the way. Whereas pages of different colors and a tree that filled each composition, changing with the seasons, provided visual interest in Tap the Magic Tree, these scenes feel empty for too long.

Preschoolers need to learn how plants grow. This supplies the basics, but novelty (an arguably waning term for app imitators on paper) is not a substitute for compelling art. (notes) (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-239339-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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