An important topic is treated with grace, love, and a smidgen of humor in this delightful, necessary book.

READ REVIEW

THE WATER WALKER

A picture book that tells the story of the Mother Earth Water Walkers, a group that walks to bring awareness to the importance of clean water.

Nokomis (“grandmother”) Josephine Mandamin, an Ojibwe, loves and respects Nibi (“water”), greeting it every morning with gratitude. Hearing an elder predict that clean water will soon be more precious than gold, Nokomis decides to take action. She and other women begin to walk, first around the Great Lakes (an endeavor that takes seven years), then around other bodies of water, to highlight the importance of unpolluted water. Author/illustrator Robertson, an AnishinaabeKwe, tells her true story without lecturing and fills it with bright, effectively childlike illustrations. She writes with verve and occasional gentle humor about the need to respect Nibi and to make decisions for “your grandchildren’s grandchildren.” The humor extends to the illustrations; in one image Nokomis sits with her feet in bunny slippers, using her laptop to buy new sneakers. There is a slight storyline confusion (was it Nokomis Josephine or other women who did the walking from the four points of Turtle Island?), but this is a small quibble in a book about such a large issue. The illustrated glossary with pronunciations is essential, since Robertson uses Ojibwe words throughout, a decision that enhances the book’s substance.

An important topic is treated with grace, love, and a smidgen of humor in this delightful, necessary book. (informational note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77260-038-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Second Story Press

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Sound tadpole philosophy.

BEING FROG

This photo essay about the eponymous amphibian includes simple rhyming sentences both informative and appreciative.

The first verso states boldly: “A frog / is a being. / It is watching. / It is seeing.” The photograph across the gutter presents a close-up view of a green frog’s face against a blurry, muted, outdoor background. The simple verses scan well throughout. Many of the sentences use “It” to refer to the frog whose life is being studied; just one “It” has a different antecedent, which throws a slight curve during initial reading. However, this small book of relatively few words manages to say a lot. Some pages give readers a rudimentary understanding of a frog’s daily life and the life cycle of a frog. Others provide gentle reminders that these are sentient creatures whose lives are only partly understood by human beings. (“Does it ponder? / We don’t yet know.”) The excellent photography—with sharp images that join the text in provoking humor, interest, and reverence—attests to the author’s note about spending a good deal of time observing frogs at a nearby pond. The author’s note itself is lovely: While offering fascinating details about her own encounters with specific frogs, it also clarifies for young readers the difference between scientific and anecdotal research—and the value in both. The youngest readers will love the photographs and rhymes; slightly older children will also appreciate the author’s note.

Sound tadpole philosophy. (resources) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2881-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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