For exciting, optimal use, expect brown-edged pages.

THIS IS A BOOK TO READ WITH A WORM

Readers are encouraged to find a worm and to employ careful observation techniques.

Immediately after the title page, a bespectacled worm wearing a blue scarf—it acts as commentator throughout—reminds readers to be gentle when picking up worms and to return them safely to their places of origin after studying them. (Environmentally conscious endnotes both suggest acquiring a worm from a bait shop if one is not available outside and caution against introducing these worms into the natural environment.) Two children, one black and one white, look out toward readers as if hearing the words printed above them: “Stop! To read this book you are going to need a worm.” Indeed, without a worm in hand, half of the text becomes moot. Readers—along with the two children—are urged to run a finger along the worm’s body; to stare into the worm’s “face”; to carefully observe worm sensitivities to alcohol fumes and light beams; to listen for the bristles called setae by holding up a paper-wrapped worm to an ear; to create a one-night, dirt-filled worm hotel in a clear plastic bottle. For a book that seems otherwise eco-conscious, it is a surprise that a glass jar used with care is not recommended over plastic. As the gently humorous text gives directions and nature facts, the whimsical worm’s speech bubbles offer vocabulary pronunciations and tips about keeping worms healthy while they are under surveillance. The graphic art is lively and colorful, well matched with the text.

For exciting, optimal use, expect brown-edged pages. (resources, research notes) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-58089-897-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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