A super-sized snow celebration by the authors of Cool Woods: A Trip Around the World’s Boreal Forest (2003) includes weather predictions, snow formation, animals in winter, and bits about blizzards, avalanches, and glaciers. There are thumbnail sketches of historic and modern snow studiers, disaster stories, folktales, invented diaries, and tips on saving the environment. They include plenty of delightfully odd facts, too, e.g., “gray jays’ saliva has a glue-like quality, allowing them to stick seeds high up in trees, well above the snow.” There’s some questionable science, such as: “We have winter because the sun has farther to travel to reach north in winter than it does in summer. And that makes the north colder in winter.” It’s not the distance from the sun, though, but the angle of rays that’s important. Drawings by Owl magazine artist Thurman add to the humor and break up too-dense blocks of text. Includes glossary and index, but no sources for folktales or facts. Over-packed, but fun for browsing. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2004

ISBN: 0-88776-670-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2004


Remarking that ``nothing about the weather is very simple,'' Simon goes on to describe how the sun, atmosphere, earth's rotation, ground cover, altitude, pollution, and other factors influence it; briefly, he also tells how weather balloons gather information. Even for this outstanding author, it's a tough, complex topic, and he's not entirely successful in simplifying it; moreover, the import of the striking uncaptioned color photos here isn't always clear. One passage—``Cumulus clouds sometimes build up into towering masses called cumulus congestus, or swelling cumulus, which may turn into cumulonimbus clouds''—is superimposed on a blue-gray, cloud-covered landscape. But which kind of clouds are these? Another photo, in blue-black and white, shows what might be precipitation in the upper atmosphere, or rain falling on a darkened landscape, or...? Generally competent and certainly attractive, but not Simon's best. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-10546-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993


Miranda’s book counts the monsters gathering at a birthday party, while a simple rhyming text keeps the tally and surveys the action: “Seven starved monsters are licking the dishes./Eight blow out candles and make birthday wishes.” The counting proceeds to ten, then by tens to fifty, then gradually returns to one, which makes the monster’s mother, a purple pin-headed octopus, very happy. The book is surprisingly effective due to Powell’s artwork; the color has texture and density, as if it were poured onto the page, but the real attention-getter is the singularity of every monster attendee. They are highly individual and, therefore, eminently countable. As the numbers start crawling upward, it is both fun and a challenge to try to recognize monsters who have appeared in previous pages, or to attempt to stay focused when counting the swirling or bunched creatures. The story has glints of humor, and in combination with the illustrations is a grand addition to the counting shelf. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-201835-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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