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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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The author of Cod (1997) successfully provides readers with a frightening look at the looming destruction of the oceans. Brief sections in graphic-novel format follow a young girl, Ailat, and her father over a couple of decades as the condition of the ocean grows increasingly dire, eventually an orange, slimy mess mostly occupied by jellyfish and leatherback turtles. At the end, Ailat’s young daughter doesn’t even know what the word fish means. This is juxtaposed against nonfiction chapters with topics including types of fishing equipment and the damage each causes, a history of the destruction of the cod and its consequences, the international politics of the fishing industry and the effects of pollution and global warming. The final chapter lists of some actions readers could take to attempt to reverse the damage: not eating certain types of fish, joining environmental groups, writing to government officials, picketing seafood stores that sell endangered fish, etc. Whenever an important point is to be made, font size increases dramatically, sometimes so that a single sentence fills a page—attention-getting but distractingly so. While it abounds with information, sadly, no sources are cited, undermining reliability. Additionally, there are no index and no recommended bibliography for further research, diminishing this effort’s value as a resource. Depressing and scary yet grimly entertaining. (Nonfiction/graphic-novel hybrid. 10 & up)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5607-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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Not a complete world, but rewarding fare nonetheless for both young cartografiends and armchair travelers.


A tourist atlas of sorts, in which maps of select countries are reduced to little more than natural and political borders to serve as backdrops for thousands of small images.

Arranged by continent—with Europe’s section first and by far the largest—the maps each fill an oversized spread. All are the same size, so that, without regard for scale, the illustrators allot Iceland and New Zealand the same space as, for instance, Antarctica and Russia (including Siberia). Every map teems with labeled, colored drawings of characteristic wildlife and local residents, renowned figures from history and legend, major cities and landforms, famous buildings, important industries, foods, foliage, works of art, musical instruments, and other place-linked sights and items. The images overflow into neighboring oceans and seas, where they share space with pictures of sea life, boats and water sports. Sidestepping the stereotypical tendencies common to older illustrated maps, here human figures sport modern dress as well as regional costume (with labels for most of the latter that note “traditional dress”) and, often, specific tribal or cultural identifications. Flags and basic facts are tucked into the corners, but the intent here is plainly to present crazy-quilt impressions of each country’s history and culture rather than systematic geophysical information.

Not a complete world, but rewarding fare nonetheless for both young cartografiends and armchair travelers. (Informational picture book. 6-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6896-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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