SONG OF THE WATER BOATMAN

AND OTHER POND POEMS

The stately rhythms of Sidman’s 11 rhymed or free verse poems find echoes in Prange’s strongly modeled, richly colored woodcut scenes. Both naturalistically portray a pond’s flora and fauna from Spring Peepers, herons and cattails, to the titular insect (singing a Gilbert and Sullivan–esque duet with a closely related Backswimmer), and a Painted Turtle settling “Into the Mud” for the winter: “Sun / slants low, / chill seeps into black / water. No more days of bugs / and basking.” Sidman adds nature notes opposite each poem, Prange closes with a wordless glimpse of a snow-covered landscape and readers will come away feeling as if they, too, have been pond dwellers for a season. Matching Kurt Cyrus’s Oddhopper Opera: A Bug’s Garden of Verses (2001) for that up-close feel, this also makes an engrossing companion for Michael Elsohn Ross’s Pond Watching with Ann Morgan (2000), illus by Wendy Smith. (glossary) (Poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 4, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-13547-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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DINOSAURS GALORE!

A dozen familiar dinosaurs introduce themselves in verse in this uninspired, if colorful, new animal gallery from the authors of Commotion in the Ocean (2000). Smiling, usually toothily, and sporting an array of diamonds, lightning bolts, spikes and tiger stripes, the garishly colored dinosaurs make an eye-catching show, but their comments seldom measure up to their appearance: “I’m a swimming reptile, / I dive down in the sea. / And when I spot a yummy squid, / I eat it up with glee!” (“Ichthyosaurus”) Next to the likes of Kevin Crotty’s Dinosongs (2000), illustrated by Kurt Vargo, or Jack Prelutsky’s classic Tyrannosaurus Was A Beast (1988), illustrated by Arnold Lobel, there’s not much here to roar about. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58925-044-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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