Hopefully this poem will spark conversations not only about water, its cycle, and life-giving importance, but also about the...

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AGUA, AGÜITA / WATER, LITTLE WATER

In this bilingual (Spanish/English) book the poet reminds readers that water is life.

“My name / is Water / but everyone / calls me ‘Little Water.’ ” So begins this poem written in free verse about water. Little Water tells about being born in Mother Earth; climbing to the surface, entangling in roots, and climbing along rocks; resting on leaves, spider webs, and flower petals when it reaches the surface. Drop by drop Little Water becomes a river, a lake, and an ocean, eventually climbing to the sky. When Little Water becomes a cloud, drop by drop it returns to Mother Earth. “I am Little Water / I am life.” concludes the poem. Mixed-media full-page illustrations accompany the text, giving visual focus to Little Water’s cycle of life. Forms are appropriately rounded, with repeating patterns that emulate ripples and waves even when depicting plants and landscapes. At the end of the book readers will find the poem written in Nahuat, the language of the Pipil-Nahua people of El Salvador in Central America. Argueta himself is a Pipil-Nahua, a people not many children in the United States may be aware of.

Hopefully this poem will spark conversations not only about water, its cycle, and life-giving importance, but also about the different cultures in our hemisphere. (Poetry. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55885-854-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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