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

IN THE GARDEN

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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet.

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WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS

In this tribute to Native resilience, Indigenous author-and-illustrator team Lindstrom and Goade invite readers to stand up for environmental justice.

“Water is the first medicine,” a young, unnamed protagonist reflects as she wades into a river with her grandmother. “We come from water.” Stunning illustrations, rich in symbolism from the creators’ respective Ojibwe and Tlingit/Haida lineages, bring the dark-haired, brown-skinned child’s narrative to life as she recounts an Anishinaabe prophecy: One day, a “black snake” will terrorize her community and threaten water, animals, and land. “Now the black snake is here,” the narrator proclaims, connecting the legend to the present-day threat of oil pipelines being built on Native lands. Though its image is fearsome, younger audiences aren’t likely to be frightened due to Goade’s vibrant, uplifting focus on collective power. Awash in brilliant colors and atmospheric studies of light, the girl emphasizes the importance of protecting “those who cannot fight for themselves” and understanding that on Earth, “we are all related.” Themes of ancestry, community responsibility, and shared inheritance run throughout. Where the brave protagonist is depicted alongside her community, the illustrations feature people of all ages, skin tones, and clothing styles. Lindstrom’s powerful message includes non-Native and Native readers alike: “We are stewards of the Earth. We are water protectors.”

An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet. (author’s note, glossary, illustrator’s note, Water Protector pledge) (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20355-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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