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From the My First Holiday series

A gentle introduction to get kids thinking about ways to help the planet.

A grandmother and grandchild celebrate Earth Day.

The pair spend their day planting seeds and trees, visiting a farmers market, and picking up trash. Narrated by the child, the story raises questions about the consequences of global warming: What would a world without trees look like? What would happen to sea creatures if our water became too polluted? If northern ice continues to melt, where will the polar bears and seals go? Katz’s characteristic illustrations feature simple, rounded figures. The author/illustrator relies on bright colors and bold patterns, and animals look cute and anthropomorphized. The narrative is a bit didactic and culminates with the child creating an illustrated list titled “How To Help the Earth!” (Examples include taking the bus, planting a tree, and using cloth rather than plastic bags.) Climate change is a complex topic that’s difficult even for adults to grasp, and Katz uses simplified, child-friendly explanations, similar to those found in other books on the topic. While it may not be the most original take, the explanations of Earth’s physical changes, as well as the child’s ruminations, provide helpful starters for caregivers or teachers looking for a jumping-off point for meaningful conversations. Nana and the child are light-skinned; background characters are diverse.

A gentle introduction to get kids thinking about ways to help the planet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9780805078954

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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From the Baby University series

Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed.

This book presents a simplified explanation of the role the atmosphere plays in controlling climate.

The authors present a planet as a ball and its atmosphere as a blanket that envelops the ball. If the blanket is thick, the planet will be hot, as is the case for Venus. If the blanket is thin, the planet is cold, as with Mars. Planet Earth has a blanket that traps “just the right amount of heat.” The authors explain trees, animals, and oceans are part of what makes Earth’s atmosphere “just right.” “But…Uh-oh! People on Earth are changing the blanket!” The book goes on to explain how some human activities are sending “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere, thus “making the blanket heavier and thicker” and “making Earth feel unwell.” In the case of a planet feeling unwell, what would the symptoms be? Sea-level rises that lead to erosion, flooding, and island loss, along with extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, blizzards, and wildfires. Ending on a constructive note, the authors name a few of the remedies to “help our Earth before it’s too late!” By using the blanket analogy, alongside simple and clear illustrations, this otherwise complex topic becomes very accessible to young children, though caregivers will need to help with the specialized vocabulary.

Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8082-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A feast…at least for the eyes, and much better for the teeth.

It’s all about the colors in this board-book version of the virally popular “rainbow explosion” cake.

The cake, which stars in many online videos and slide shows, is actually all about the sprinkles, evoked here with a combination of multihued spinners or sliders and hundreds of tiny holes punched into the sturdy cover and stock. Kassem, a New York City specialist baker, recaps its creation…without specific ingredients but step by step in the simplest language: “Pour it! / Mix it! // Color it!” The images are abstract enough that the result never really looks like food, but young digerati are unlikely to care as they’re directed to choose colors for each of the six layers, pull a tab to watch them rise in the oven, then see all but the top layer hollowed out before being stacked in rainbow order (sans indigo) and finally filled with a column of sprinkles that will pour out in a climactic rush (“Surprise!”) when the finished cake, its outside likewise sprinkle encrusted, is sliced. Chavarri’s simple illustrations flash with oversaturated hues, each succeeding double-page spread being somehow brighter than the last one, until the final uncomplicated pop-up unfolds in a grand shower of confetti and sprinkles. Budding chefs may find the recipe-based approach in Lotta Niemenen’s Cook in a Book series more to their taste, but for sheer energy and dazzle, this is hard to beat.

A feast…at least for the eyes, and much better for the teeth. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3746-6

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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