Bringing the beauty of and responsibility for nature to the city, this will win over readers with its parallel storytelling...

NOAH BUILDS AN ARK

Noah receives a lesson on surviving storms from his family and uses it to give safe passage to the denizens of the family’s backyard.

Salamanders, toads, snakes, hummingbirds, butterflies, field mice, and grasshoppers can all be found in little Noah’s backyard garden. Noah spies the dark clouds hovering over the cityscape as his father declares, “It’s going to be a beauty.” Rather than depict heavy rainstorms as ominous and menacing, Banks and Rocco instead instill the message that the proper preparations can ensure a family’s safety. That logic extends to the backyard. As Noah’s father boards up the windows of their row house, Noah capably repurposes his broken-down wagon into an ark. As Noah’s mother and sister stack groceries and fill water jugs, Noah prepares food for the ark’s creatures. When the rain finally arrives, the family is soothed enough to enjoy board games and share stories by candlelight. Inside the ark, the creatures imaginatively begin to take advantage of one another’s intimate company as well. When the storm finally settles, the creatures exit, two by two of course, back to the tiny, thriving ecosystem of the family’s fenced-in slice of earth. Rocco’s meticulous paintings depict a brown-skinned family carefully preparing for the weather; the animals are not directly anthropomorphized, but compositions give a cozy sense of community.

Bringing the beauty of and responsibility for nature to the city, this will win over readers with its parallel storytelling and appreciation for human- and nonhumankind alike. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7484-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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WE ARE IN A BOOK!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Stalwart friends Piggie and Gerald the elephant push the metafictive envelope in a big way when they realize that "someone is looking at us." Is it a monster? worries Gerald. "No," replies the squinting Piggie. "It is... / a reader! / A reader is reading us!" How? wonders Gerald. Piggie drapes herself on a word bubble to demonstrate: "We are in a book!" "THAT IS SO COOL!" Joy leads to a little bit of clever practical joking—Piggie figures out how to make the readers say "banana" out loud, and hilarity ensues—which gives way to existential angst: "The book ends?!" exclaims an appalled Gerald. Emergent readers just beginning to grapple one-on-one with the rules of the printed codex will find the friends' antics both funny and provocative: Just who is in control here, anyway? As always, Willems displays his customary control of both body language and pacing even as he challenges his readers to engage with his characters and the physicality of their book . The friends' solution to the book's imminent end? "Hello. Will you please read us again?" You bet. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3308-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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