THE HIDDEN FOREST

Vivid, inventive collages by author/artist Jeannie Baker make this picture book on the hidden underwater world of kelp forests a compelling addition to the ecology section of school and public libraries. For her collages, the author/artist used collected natural materials, (pressed seaweed, sand, and sponges) or translucent artist's clay to model kelp and resin to make seawater. These visually striking illustrations extend the story of Ben, a young boy who holds little regard for sea life. When his fish trap is tangled in the kelp, he enlists the help of his snorkeling friend, Sophie, to free it. Sophie takes Ben under the sea where he discovers the enchanted world of the kelp forest and its inhabitants. Small fish skitter near and a benign whale glides by, a gray shadow with barnacles and an enormous eye. Throughout, the kelp holds center stage against an intense blue sea. The lush and varied kelp shimmers, sways, and stretches in the tide. `When the kelp touches him, it feels like velvet swirling against his skin.` He returns to the surface of the sea with a greater appreciation of the sea and the life within it. As with other picture book ecology titles by Baker (The Story of Rosy Dock, 1995, etc.) this title captivates the viewer while celebrating the environment. Not to be missed. (Picture book. 59)

Pub Date: March 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-15760-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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