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Though it leans more toward toy than book, it’s a welcome touch of spring.

Follow a garden’s growth as pages unfold vertically toward the ground.

The book opens vertically on a pretty blue songbird, and more sections of the sturdy, blooming potted plant it’s perched on unfurl with each consecutive flap turn. As the book extends, readers see more of the tall shrub with its flowering blossoms and then a bright collection of daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips planted around its base. Readers will enjoy spotting small treasures among the foliage: a nest filled with tiny eggs, a grinning caterpillar, a clothed mouse and fairy, tiny and hard at work on the next-to-last flap (where a tiny line of ants crawls up the side of a terra-cotta pot). Watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are whimsical, with the joyful florals capturing center stage, like a boisterous explosion of spring. Before each flap unfolds, readers see spare text decorated with nature-inspired vignettes that announces what is changing in the garden BUT with a bit of flair: “Flowers unfurl, calling butterflies to land.” Although charming, it’s challenging to read—as the book lengthens, it’s increasingly difficult to hold with a child in one’s lap. The book comes with a small hole punched at the top, allowing the book to be hung so that it might function as either book or decor; spread out, it could be ideal for little ones to crawl upon.

Though it leans more toward toy than book, it’s a welcome touch of spring. (Board book/novelty. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-56846-335-3

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude.

A deceptively simple, visually appealing, comprehensive explanation of volcanoes.

Gibbons packs an impressive number of facts into this browsable nonfiction picture book. The text begins with the awe of a volcanic eruption: “The ground begins to rumble…ash, hot lava and rock, and gases shoot up into the air.” Diagrams of the Earth’s structural layers—inner and outer core, mantle, and crust—undergird a discussion about why volcanoes occur. Simple maps of the Earth’s seven major tectonic plates show where volcanoes are likeliest to develop. Other spreads with bright, clearly labeled illustrations cover intriguing subtopics: four types of volcanoes and how they erupt; underwater volcanoes; well-known volcanoes and historic volcanic eruptions around the world; how to be safe in the vicinity of a volcano; and the work of scientists studying volcanoes and helping to predict eruptions. A page of eight facts about volcanoes wraps things up. The straightforward, concise prose will be easy for young readers to follow. As always, Gibbons manages to present a great deal of information in a compact form.

Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4569-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

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 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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