Renewed public interest in a “green” world makes this a timely and welcome return for Crinkleroot.


From the Crinkleroot series

Forest-dweller Crinkleroot reappears to lead 21st-century readers outdoors, urging them to appreciate and give back to nature.

Arnosky’s bearded guide, inspired by 19th-century naturalist John Burroughs, was last seen in print in Crinkleroot’s Visit to Crinkle Cove (1999), but he has continued to educate schoolchildren through the PBS series Backyard Safari for many years. In this new title, the author focuses on things children can do on their own for their environment: provide food and appropriate habitat for wild creatures; pick up after themselves; keep stream waters clean; put animals back where they found them; don’t walk on dune grass. He gives detailed instructions for planting trees and for releasing fish unharmed. Dressed in a frontiersman’s costume and feathered hat and surrounded by forest creatures, Crinkleroot makes an appealing guide. (He discards his jacket for a life vest in his kayak.) His love for the natural world is evident, and he expects that readers will share it. Pen-and-ink illustrations, colored with ink acrylic washes, are full of accurate detail. Early on readers are offered a winter-bird-identification puzzle that capitalizes on this. Throughout, he shows and identifies creatures a sharp-eyed young naturalist might see outdoors (especially, but not solely, those who live in the eastern half of the country).

Renewed public interest in a “green” world makes this a timely and welcome return for Crinkleroot. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25520-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...


Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.


Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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