With its droll paintings and fablelike story, the book will appeal to those whose tree-hugging instincts and good wishes for...

THEA'S TREE

Although Thea has grown up in an ugly brick city without trees, flowers or plants (is it in Europe or North America?), her parents remember trees with fondness.

Mama remembers “trees to climb, trees to hide in, trees to sit under and dream.” Papa has happy memories too, more specific to India: “picking mangoes and guavas and neem leaves to eat.” When, miraculously, Thea sees a falling leaf, she follows it into a dreamlike adventure. High above the Earth, she meets a talking tree with white leaves who can tell that Thea doesn’t want to grow a tree just to cut it down for firewood or paper pulp. The tree gives Thea a seed to plant with directions to “give it water and love and conversation.” A tree that lives on for generations is sown, giving great happiness to Thea and her descendants. This simple story is accompanied by paintings that employ a sense of magical realism; Chagall-like figures have occasionally upside-down heads and are posed against three beautifully textured backgrounds. The text is printed over delicate, beige leaf prints that embellish the pages.

With its droll paintings and fablelike story, the book will appeal to those whose tree-hugging instincts and good wishes for the Earth’s future are intact. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-81-8190-297-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Karadi Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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