Young children will be captivated by the exceptional illustrations but not much more

READ REVIEW

WILD BACKYARD

Well-known backyard animals and their immediate surroundings are represented in this beautifully illustrated board book.

Six different animals common to suburban and rural environments are presented in simple text and realistic illustrations. Meet a robin, a honeybee, a toad, a rabbit, a squirrel, and a mole. Each double-page spread of the board book is dedicated to one animal, culminating in the final one, where all are present. Though it does not detract from the book, it is of interest to note that the robin depicted is not an American robin but a European robin. The text, though short and simple, is language-rich: “TOAD slurps a fly with its long, sticky tongue”; “MOLE finds worms as it tunnels underground.” The real pride of place in the book goes to the illustrations. Done in liquid acrylics, each painting is exact to the last detail and beautiful. Unfortunately though, the book falls just short of the mark, as both the text and the illustrations are just descriptive rather than informative, thereby sparking neither curiosity nor imagination. Young readers will probably not come back for repeat readings.

Young children will be captivated by the exceptional illustrations but not much more . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56846-287-5

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed.

LITTLE SEED

A LIFE

The life story of a seed is set in a biblical context.

Readers are introduced on the first page to Little Seed, who will serve as the uninspiring and often hard-to-spot main character of this tale. It floats to the ground and is buried in the soil until winter arrives and the earth freezes. Lest readers worry about Little Seed at this point, they are offered the startling—for no religious or spiritual context has been thus far established—reassurance that “God gave Little Seed everything it needed. Its hard coat protected it. Little Seed was safe.” When spring comes, Little Seed’s softened shell splits open, and a sprout and roots begin to grow. At this point, the illustrations present several small seedlings, making it impossible to even identify Little Seed. When summer rolls around, Little Seed has become a sunflower that must reproduce in fall to fulfill its destiny. The final page spread attempts to tie everything together by offering a quotation referencing gardens and seeds from Isaiah 61:11. The illustrations, an unusual mixture of realism and impressionism, are plagued by inconsistencies. The permanent fixtures of Little Seed’s background, for example, seem to change from season to season, though presumably it remains rooted in the same spot.

Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9854090-7-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Graham Blanchard

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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EGG

A graciously illustrated rhyming ode to eggs.

Wrapped in its own firm shell, this compact board book has a solid padded cover and opens onto stiff, matte cardboard pages. Creamy white backgrounds highlight each page’s avian-related vignette, ranging from a greenish-gold “shiny egg” to a “dotted egg” with an elaborately lined, blue iridescent feather nestled in front. Though each page features an accurately drawn egg, there’s enough variation among the depictions—a large tropical flower overhanging a tiny vervain hummingbird egg; a chickadee incubating her eggs; a silly but “sweet” foil-wrapped chocolate egg—that the content feels fresh. Ink drawings in subdued colors are fine and delicate, clearly conveying the subtle differences among each bird species, and eggs and nests manage to look both fragile and solid. Related in two-word rhyming couplets consisting of one descriptor word followed by “egg,” the text achieves a smooth, catchy sound. A useful illustrated key at the back identifies the eggs, though some, like a “sea egg” identified as a great blue heron’s or those of less-familiar birds, such as the cassowary, beg for more context or even a picture of the bird itself. A tall, thin typeset keeps the focus on the lovely eggshells but is hard to read from a distance; sharp corners on the board pages make this case-bound board book unsuitable for the youngest listeners.

Egg-quisite . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-56846-351-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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