COYOTE'S SOUNDBITE

A POEM FOR OUR PLANET

Coyote attends a conference of the earth goddesses in drag and contributes a great idea.

The six earth goddesses “from far-flung corners of the planet” plan a conference, for female creatures only, to discuss “whether humans are blind / or have simply lost their mind.” The ethnically diverse earth goddesses watch over every happening on Earth, down to “a tiny seed waking in a cradle of darkness.” But the earth goddesses themselves have never been seen. Coyote decides to wear his wife’s dress to attend the historic event. Each earth goddess gives a short speech about her contributions to life on the planet and her disappointment in humanity’s treatment of it. When they invite questions, a long silence ensues, and Coyote decides to offer a suggestion: the titular sound bite to get their message across to humans. His suggestion is gladly accepted. When Coyote gets home, he finds his wife dressed in his own suit and discovers she, too, has been out making suggestions at a conference not intended for her gender. Agard’s rhythmic verse reads like a classic fable, with intriguing characters and an interesting premise. The cross-dressing coyotes are an unfortunate diversion from the otherwise-engaging story; the fact that the only male in attendance comes up with the solution reduces the empowering message despite the ironic turn at the end of the tale. Grobler’s busy, characteristically scribbly illustrations add interest to each spread.

Very nearly successful. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-911373-73-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lantana

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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This effort gives partial information where children could have handled the full picture. Look to Julie Hannah and Joan...

IT'S RAINING!

Though Gibbons includes lots of facts about rain in her latest, some flaws limit its usefulness.

The explanation of the water cycle, though basic, is solid and accessible for children: “As the water vapor moves higher into the sky, the air becomes cooler and cooler. Water vapor soon turns into millions of water droplets. This is called condensation.” Gibbons then goes on to describe the types of rain clouds. Unfortunately, her trademark watercolor-illustration style does not differentiate these enough, nor does the text, to make this knowledge applicable. She next tackles the different ways rain falls: drizzle, shower, rain, rainstorm, thunderstorm, flash flood. While the bit about thunder and lightning may soothe nerves about this typical childhood fear, introducing the threat of broken windows and falling tree limbs from other storms may offset this. The final few pages address storm cleanup, acid rain, cleaner energy sources and the possibility of a rainbow. How this latter forms is left to the backmatter, whose many facts should have been supplied in the text itself, including tips on staying dry and safe and a list of supplies to have on hand in case of a storm. As in her other titles, text within the illustrations gives further information and/or defines vocabulary words.

This effort gives partial information where children could have handled the full picture. Look to Julie Hannah and Joan Holub’s The Man Who Named the Clouds, illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye (2006), instead. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2924-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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